What is a Last Will and Testament (Will)?

A will is a document that directs the disposition of your estate when you die. In your will, you can also designate who you would like to be responsible for distributing your estate and who you would like to care for your minor children. Your will can also establish a trust to hold the assets you give your children until they are old enough to handle them responsibly. Your will has no legal effect while you are alive; it becomes an effective legal document upon your death. If you’re married, you and your spouse should have separate wills, though the provisions may be nearly identical.

Who Needs a Will?Last Will and Testament

Everyone over the age of 18 who has legal capacity to make one. According to some statistics it is estimated that between 50-70% of Texans do not have a will, yet creating a will is one of the most important things you should do.  The creation of a simple will can save a lot of time and expense to friends and family after death.  Accordingly, every Texan (or Texas resident), over the age of 18 should consult with a Texas Estate Planning attorney to obtain a will.

What happens if you die without a legal will in Texas? 

When a person that has not created a will prior to their death, it is said that they have died intestate.  In Texas, if a person dies without a will, Texas Law will dispose all of the property based upon what the Probate Code says and not per the wishes of the deceased person. We can already tell you, most people don’t like this, and neither will you! Why? Because often the people who inherit your assets under Texas Intestacy laws are different than the people you would name in your will.  Dying without a will is also more expensive and will most likely trigger undesired results and unexpected costs and delays.  For example; your estate will be responsible for the costs of an heirs-ship procedure, which means your loved ones will have to comply with the legal requirement which mandates that the court searches for your legal heirs. The costs of this court procedure as well as any other legal costs of an ‘attorney ad litem’, whom the court will appoint to represent unknown and missing heirs, will be paid by your estate.  So you can see that the failure to leave a valid will that clearly sets forth your intentions can greatly increase the cost of probate and delay the division of property.

What are the advantages of having a legal Will in Texas? 

Having a Will is all about maintaining control over how your property and how your family will be treated after your death.  A Will is a legal document that outlines the final wishes of a person in writing, it deals with property and asset distribution, it can deal with who will raise their children after their death.  Having a Will takes the uncertainty out of things, because the testator decided the recipients of his or her property and designate the executor and if applicable the preferred guardian who should take care for their minor children.

Do you have a Texas Will?

If not, you need to call us now.  We can help you set up an Estate Plan that will fit your personal needs. Contact us today! We are here to help.