The first choice of every human being, when it comes to the distribution of his/her wealth and asset upon death, is to his/her beloved ones. We all want that our hard-earned assets are taken care of and well kept in the family. This is why having a Texas last will and testament drawn up, while you are alive, is of extreme importance if you are a Texas resident.
If, after your demise, there is no will in place, then the state moves to distribute your assets as it deems fit. Yes, it is a scary picture even to imagine. So, do not wait any further. Prepare your last will and testament Texas today from CocoSign's template library.
What Is a Texas Last Will and Testament?
It is a legal document governed by Texas’s statutes and law drawn by the testators to leave/distribute their wealth (monetary or real estate) to their children, spouse, friends, relatives, charities, and others.
Texas' last will and testament also make provisions for child (minor) care or even pet care. Every legal condition that ought to be fulfilled in drawing up a last will and testament is mentioned under Texas Probate Code § 57.
What's Included in a Texas Last Will and Testament?
There are a lot of small elements that are put together to form a functioning Texas will. These include:
Appointing an Executor
Appointing an executor to carry out your will as mandated by you after your death, is the first and foremost job. The testator names the executor in the last will itself at the time of drafting. The executor is required to secure and prepare an inventory of all the assets (material and otherwise) owned by the testator before moving to distribute them.
It is the executor’s fiduciary duty to act impartially and responsibly in dealing with the will of the testator.
Distribution of Estate Assets
Bequests or distribution of estate assets forms one of the main provisions in a will. There are, generally speaking, three types of bequests:
- Percentage – Here, the estate is divided as the percentage of the overall value.
- Specific – In this, as the name suggests, specific parts of the estate are left to specific people as named in the will.
- Residuary – Once all the specific estate is given away, the remaining or residual is then given to a single beneficiary.
At times a separate “personal property memorandum” is created that sheds light on receivers of tangible personal property. The memorandum decides on items such as souvenirs, jewelry, books, furniture and such.
Selecting Guardians for the Minors
If the testator has young children (minor) for whom a guardian is necessary and important, the testator might need to appoint a guardian to look after them. The guardian is responsible for the children’s education, health, finances, and also looks after the estate that is entrusted to the minors. The guardian is to take care of the minors until the time they reach adulthood.
Most of the time, the last will of Texas residents also carry their wishes and preferences for funeral and how they would like their remains to be disposed of.
By the authority invoked in the executor by the last will, it is the executor’s solemn duty to carry out the testator’s wishes for his/her last rites.
Benefits and Limitations of a Texas Last Will and Testament
There are several benefits of having a last will and testament, including:
- Testators can pre-decide how their estate will be distributed
- A guardian of choice can be appointed by the testators in their last will
- The state of Texas permits the creation of a “pet trust” for taking care of the pets
- In case of a dispute, if the matter is taken to court for the process of probate, having a will in place can smoothen up the process
A couple of limitations that might crop up are:
- No spouse can distribute the entire property in his/her will
- In the absence of a will, Texas state’s laws of intestacy are invoked for the disbursement of the estate
How to Form, Change, and Revote a Last Will and Testament in Texas?
Drawing up a last will and testament in the state of Texas basically requires:
- The age of the testator must be a minimum of 18 years at the time of drafting. However, there is an exception for people who have served in armed forces or were legally married
- The testator is of sound health, physically and mentally. S/he must be able to make the decisions necessary and understand the consequences that may arise.
- S/he must possess the right and power to draw the last will
- If the will is typewritten or written by someone else, it must be signed by at least two different witnesses of age 14 years and above
- The state of Texas accepts holographic or handwritten wills if it is written entirely by the testator
- The last will and testament in Texas can be used to allocate property to anyone. However, as per the law, at least one beneficiary has to be declared.
The testator can make changes to Texas last will and testament by bringing in the codicil – amendment to the existing will that is created using the same procedure as the actual will.
If you wish to revoke your Texas will forms, you can do so by:
- Drafting a codicil
- Declaring in writing expressing explicitly that the will is revoked
- Physically destroying the will at the hands of the testator or by someone in the presence of the testator upon his instruction
Why is having a last will and testament important?
Having a last will and testament is important because:
- It helps you distribute your wealth and assets after your death
- It helps you decide who receives your assets and in what manner and amount
- You can choose who can be the executor to carry out your will in the desired way
- You can decide upon the guardianship of your minor children
What is a codicil?
If you are looking to make any amendment in your last will and testament, then you will have to draw what is called a codicil. A codicil is the same will but with the amendments drawn up in exactly the same manner.
What is the difference between a last will and a healthcare directive?
Last will carries your wishes regarding the distribution of your wealth after your death. At the same time, a healthcare directive is created to inform an agent about your wishes and preferences regarding healthcare measures during your incapacitation.
Is it necessary to have both the power of attorney and the last will in place?
Yes: While a power of attorney works by conferring your powers onto an agent while you are alive, the last will is used to distribute your assets and wealth amongst your loved ones after your death.
Creating a last will is very easy, and you do not require a lawyer’s help to do so. You can download from the many different Texas last will templates from CocoSign and get started. These forms are carefully designed and come pre-divided into sections. All you have to do is fill in the required information.
CocoSign represents a wide collection of legal templates covering all types of leases, contracts and agreements for personal and commercial use. All legal templates available on CocoSign shall not be considered as attorney-client advice. Meanwhile, CocoSign shall not be responsible for the examination or evaluation of reviews, recommendations, services, etc. posted by parties other than CocoSign itself on its platform.