Do You Need a Will?
Looney & Conrad
Wills in the State of Texas
A valid Texas Will is a legal document that outlines the intention of the person writing it with regards to distributing their property and who will raise their children after their death.
Without a valid Will, state law determines who will receive property - which is not always what the deceased person wanted. Without a Will, a judge will decide who will raise the surviving children. Creating a valid Texas Will is one of the most important things a person can do for his or her family.
Types of Property to Will
There are two types of property that can be gifted through a valid Texas Will. They are:
- Real Property: land and improvements located on the land, and oil, gas and mineral rights flowing under the surface
- Personal Property: property other than real property including cash and bank accounts, household furnishing, motor vehicles, stocks and bonds, life insurance policies and government, retirement or employee benefits
Classes of Property to Will
There are two classes of property ownership that can be gifted through a valid Texas Will. They are:
- Separate Property: property owned prior to marriage or acquired during marriage as a gift or inheritance
- Community Property: property acquired during marriage by either spouse
Dying without a Will in Texas
A person that has not created a valid Texas Will prior to death is said to be intestate. In Texas, if a person dies without a legal Texas Will, the property is disposed of in accordance with Texas law and not based on the wishes of the deceased person. Dying without a Texas Will can also delay the disposal of property because a legal proceeding might be required to establish who the heirs are and an administrator may need to be assigned. The administrator may also be required to post a bond to ensure the duties are appropriately performed. Even worse, the value of the estate may be lost to pay for all this litigation — all or most of which could have been avoided by having a Texas will.
Advantages of Having a Texas Legal Will
A Texas Legal Will is about control of how a person's property and family are handled after death. A Texas specific personal Will outlines the wishes of the person writing it with regards to distributing his or her property and who will raise the children after his or her death. The testator can name the recipients of the property and designate the individual that will manage the property and care for their minor children.
Requirements for Creating a Valid Texas Will
For a Texas Will to be valid, its creation requires specific rules to be followed. There are three kinds of Wills recognized in Texas:
- Oral: there are severe and strict limitations associated with oral Wills making this option almost unavailable
- Handwritten: also called Holographic
- Formal written: also called attorney drafted Texas Wills or legal Texas Wills
The testator of a valid, legal Texas Will must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 18 years old, married, or serving in the armed forces
- Be of sound mind at the time of executing the legal Will
- Not be forced or deceived to make the Will
- Have the intent to pass on property at time of death
In addition to a legal Will there are other elements to consider including Powers of Attorney and Living Wills (Directive to Physician).
For assistance, contact at Looney & Conrad, P.C. at 281-597-8818.
Our lawyers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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Call Us Today at 281-597-8818
For Priority Scheduling, ask for Paul Looney
11767 Katy Freeway, Suite 740 Houston, Texas 77079
918 Austin Street Hempstead, Texas 77445