If you don’t memorialize how you would like your assets to be divided and how your minor children should be cared for, the State of Texas will decide for you. Nothing against the State of Texas — I’m just willing to bet that you know what’s best for your family and your children.
How can you make sure your wishes are carried out?
You WILL need a WILL.
What is a Will?
A will is a legal document that contains directions for how your assets should and shouldn’t be divided and how your minor children should be cared for.
What can you put in your will?
You can decide who will get your assets, specifically who will get which asset and or how much. You can specifically exclude people from getting any assets. You can also decide who should care for your minor children. If you do not decide these matters, the Texas Courts will decide for you.
Do I need an attorney to make a will?
No. You do not NEED an attorney, but consulting an attorney will help ensure all the requirements of the will are met and will ensure that you have an independent person with a copy and record of your will, who can also testify to the validity of your will if any arguments arise.
What are the different types of wills?
The least formal will recognized in Texas that you can do all on your own without any witnesses signing the will is called a holographic will. The holographic will must be handwritten by you and signed by you in order to be valid. You will either need to “self-prove” the will by drafting an affidavit, or two witnesses must be able to testify to your handwriting on your passing. These wills can be risky if there is a possibility that family members may object if they are not happy with the will. Family members who feel slighted by the will could object to the handwriting of the will, the existence of a will created by you at all, and the other possibilities to objections are endless.
A written and attested will is more formal and will give you the most protection. Typically, an attorney will draft this will and will retain a copy. At the outset, an attorney can help ensure that all the directions in your will are drafted in a manner that is legally valid to make sure those directions are carried out. After the fact, the attorney can attest to your capacity at the time of you creating the will and signing the will. This will afford protection if any dispute arises.