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Wills and Probate Facts

  • Summary of Texas Legal Wills
    A will is a legal document that outlines the wishes of the person writing it with regards to distributing their property and who will raise their children after their death. With out a will, state law determines who will get your property and this can mean distribution counter to your wishes. Without a will you can also end up with a judge deciding who will raise your children. Creating a Will is one of the most important things you can do to.
  • How Texas Legal Wills Deal with Property

    There are two types of property in Texas; Real Property and Personal Property. Real property is land and improvements located on the land, and oil, gas and mineral rights. Personal property is all 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.

    There are two classes of property ownership in Texas; separate and community. Separate property is property that is owned prior to marriage or acquired during marriage as a gift or inheritance. Community property is all other property that is acquired during marriage by either spouse.

  • Dying without a Legal Will in Texas

    A person that has not created a will prior to death is said to be intestate. In Texas, if a person dies without a will the law disposes all of the property based upon Texas law and not based upon the wishes of the deceased person. Dying without a 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.

    The Advantages of Having a Texas Legal Will

    Having a Will is all about having control of how your property and family are handled after your death. A will is a legal document that outlines the wishes of the person writing it with regards to distributing their property and who will raise their children after their death. Having a valid will helps eliminate the problems of dying without a will. The testator can name the recipients of their property and designate the individual that will manage their property and care for their minor children.

  • The Requirements for Creating a Will

    A Will requires specific rules to be followed for the will to be valid. There are three kinds of wills recognized in Texas:

    • Oral (there are limitations associated with oral wills)

    • Handwritten (also called Holographic)

    • Type written (also called Formal)

    The testator 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 will

    • Not be forced or deceived to make the will

    • Have the intent to pass on property at time of death

    There are enough complications and requirements that it is wise to seek out legal help in preparing Wills in Texas to ensure it is valid. In addition to a will there are other elements you may want to consider including Trusts and Living Wills.

  • The Texas Living Will

    A living will in Texas is a heath care directive that is used to guide medical treatment decision if you are incapacitated and unable to voice your desires. Having a living will drafted at the same time you are working on the rest of your state plan is a wise move.

  • Texas Probate Wills
    Probating a will in Texas is all about administering the estate of the person that has passed away. Learning how to probate a will in Texas is straight forward in most cases, but don’t hesitate to get legal aid if you aren’t comfortable for any reason. You can learn more about the probate process by viewing the article on Texas Probate, Wills.
  • Pros and Cons of Texas Will Forms

    If you are interested in writing your own will in Texas, using pre-made Texas wills forms will sound like a good idea. In most cases, the will forms will give you a very good head start, but be wary of using an out of date form. The laws governing wills and the probate code do change and you need to make absolutely sure that you are using the most current last will or Texas living will forms.

  • Do It Yourself Wills
    There are many pros and cons to writing your own will. here is a lot to learn about how to write a will in Texas before you even start the actual writing process.
  • Texas Probate Wills
    Probate is the legal process of verifying your will and estate administration. If your will isn’t proved in court it is denied probate and your estate will pass to heirs as if you never wrote a will. In Texas, probate can last multiple months and last much longer before all of the property is distributed.

    Texas probate court is where your will is validated and where the personal representative of the estate is appointed. The probate court is usually located in the county in which the decedent had resided at the time of death, prior to their death; or where the decedent had property.
  • Duties of the Estate Administrator consist of:

    1. collection of the assets
    2. payment of debts and claims against the estate
    3. payment of estate taxes
    4. determination of heirs if the decedent died without a will; and
    5. distribution of the remainder of the estate to those entitled to it

    Married couple’s assets that are held as community property avoid probate and are passed to the surviving spouse.

    Other assets that can avoid probate are ones that are passed-by-contract or are held in trust. Non-probate property that gets passed-by-contract include assets such as IRAs and life insurance proceeds. Trust assets are transferred under the terms of the trust.

    Your Texas Will and Probate work together to ensure that your assets are administered according to Texas Probate Code.

    There are a few requirements to prepare a Will in Texas that are important to know about. Whether you have a lot of assets and property to leave behind or only a few things, it is important to have a Will. Those who pass away without leaving a Will behind are leaving it up to the state of Texas to decide how to property should be divided. There are certain laws and codes in place that dictate to the court how property should be dealt with if a person dies without having a Will to let their last wishes be known. Once you have finished reading this information you will know three requirements needed for preparing a Will in Texas.

    In order for a person to make a Will in Texas there are certain age requirements that must be met. The testator (person making the Will) must be at least eighteen years of age. If the person is not 18 then they must be married or serving in a branch of the Armed Forces. If a person does not meet this requirement then the Will may not be counted as valid.

    A person must also have capacity at the time they create a Will for it to be valid. Capacity is the ability to reason and make sound decisions about the things you are doing. This is important because if a person does not have capacity at the time they are making out their Will the court will rule it to be invalid. If a person is not capable of making decisions then they are vulnerable to being coerced into preparing the Will by someone who wants to take advantage of them.

    The signature is the most important requirement for a Texas Will to be valid. If the Will is not signed then it will have no validity. If the person making the will is not capable of signing the will himself/herself then they may designate someone to sign it for them in their presence as long as they have capacity.

    There are other requirements to prepare a Will in Texas but the three mentioned are the most important ones. As long as a person meets the age requirement, has capacity, and signs the Will as well as meets the other requirements their last wishes will be carried out. In order for a Will to be valid it is important that all of the requirements are met.

  • Summary of Texas Legal Wills
    A will is a legal document that outlines the wishes of the person writing it with regards to distributing their property and who will raise their children after their death. With out a will, state law determines who will get your property and this can mean distribution counter to your wishes. Without a will you can also end up with a judge deciding who will raise your children. Creating a Will is one of the most important things you can do to.
  • How Texas Legal Wills Deal with Property

    There are two types of property in Texas; Real Property and Personal Property. Real property is land and improvements located on the land, and oil, gas and mineral rights. Personal property is all 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.

    There are two classes of property ownership in Texas; separate and community. Separate property is property that is owned prior to marriage or acquired during marriage as a gift or inheritance. Community property is all other property that is acquired during marriage by either spouse.

  • Dying without a Legal Will in Texas

    A person that has not created a will prior to death is said to be intestate. In Texas, if a person dies without a will the law disposes all of the property based upon Texas law and not based upon the wishes of the deceased person. Dying without a 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.

  • The Advantages of Having a Texas Legal Will

    Having a Will is all about having control of how your property and family are handled after your death. A will is a legal document that outlines the wishes of the person writing it with regards to distributing their property and who will raise their children after their death. Having a valid will helps eliminate the problems of dying without a will. The testator can name the recipients of their property and designate the individual that will manage their property and care for their minor children.

  • The Requirements for Creating a Will

    A Will requires specific rules to be followed for the will to be valid. There are three kinds of wills recognized in Texas:

    • Oral (there are limitations associated with oral wills)

    • Handwritten (also called Holographic)

    • Type written (also called Formal)

    The testator 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 will

    • Not be forced or deceived to make the will

    • Have the intent to pass on property at time of death

    There are enough complications and requirements that it is wise to seek out legal help in preparing Wills in Texas to ensure it is valid. In addition to a will there are other elements you may want to consider including Trusts and Living Wills.

  • There are multiple types of Wills that are valid in Texas
    • Written– This is a standard will that has been typed up and is most often created by a professional. Written wills are also called Formal Wills. It must be signed by the testator, be witnessed by 2 credible witnesses above the age of 14 and signed by the witnesses. A beneficiary of the formal will should not be one of the witnesses to the will.

    • Handwritten – A hand written will is also referred to as a holographic will. A hand written will must be written entirely in the handwriting of the testator (type written words can’t be included). The will must be signed by the testator. It doesn’t need to be witnessed and it can be written on anything.

    • Oral Will –An oral will is valid only for personal property and it is only valid if made by the testator if they are in their last illness at home or if they can’t return to home. Real property can not be passed through an oral will (ex: real estate). If the value of the personal property is more than $30, there must be at least 3 witnesses to the oral will.

  • The testator requirements for types of Texas Wills are that:
    • The testator is at least 18 year old, married or serving in the armed forces.

    • Be of sound mind at the time of executing the will

    • Not be forced or deceived to make the will

    • Have the intention to distribute property upon their death

    The best will is one that was prepared with the help of an attorney. Laymen created formal wills are better than handwritten wills and both are preferable to oral wills.

    Video wills are another type of will. These have become more popular since the technology to easily make them has become available. In and of themselves, video wills aren’t usually sufficient to create a legal will and they are usually accompanied by a written will. Video wills that have the testator reading them can help demonstrate intent and sound mind at the time of the reading.

  • Specifics of Texas Wills

    The creation of a last will and testament is the most important act one can do before passing on, leaving the necessary information and requirements for processing and distributing the assets of an estate. Whether it is information for family members, business purposes, or government needs, wills can vary from state to state and having the exact procedure is necessary to ensure that one’s finances and property transfers are carried out. For the state of Texas, certain specifics are required for a last will, although the process is not extremely different from other states. Although this information is a basic guide, consult a property attorney for specifics on inheritance law from state to state so that your inheritance tax planning is optimized for your specific situation.

    Texas wills have minimum requirements similar to any other state. A Texas last will and testament can only be created by a citizen who is older than eighteen years old. Younger persons who die will have any and all property transferred to their parent’s possession; only specific legal aspects (such as stand alone employment as a juvenile) allow for one younger than eighteen to dictate their property upon death in Texas. Different wills in Texas are required for those who are either married or serving in the military. Though single persons and civilians can just as easily create wills, the process is much more straightforward for married couples; those serving in the armed forces must dictate their wills before signing a military contract but this is handled by the branch they have enrolled in.

    A Texan who has created a will must be “of sound mind”, meaning that they have no mental health issues or reserves that can cause another party from challenging the validity of their desires. In many cases, those who are unable to make their own decisions due to mental capacity or health reasons — such as a vegetative state — will have all their inheritance turned over to the immediate family member. The will must be signed and dated by the person (and the notary or legal professional who testifies to the validity) and there can be no indication that the signing was done under forceful or duplicitous reasons. At least two credible witnesses must be present at the signing. The will can be written down on paper, on an electronic file, or committed orally to a recording device; many oral wills have certain specifications to ensure authenticity of the claims. At least one beneficiary must be named so that the property or financial assets can be immediately transferred to his or her claim.

    Wills in Texas can be changed at any time; a Texas living will is one that is flexible and not resolute in the claims. These are often done if the beneficiary must maintain any set of standards to receive the funds or property; it is common for living wills to dictate certain amount to family members, charities, alumni associations, and so forth provided that the individual or organization meets benchmarks or a passage of time occurs. Living wills in Texas are easier to create and update than in other states, as there is no requirement of a notary for a living will; only the last will and testament requires the legal documentation. Texas wills are different from other states in that estate taxes are not measured in the gross assets of the deceased. As such, a large amount of property (compared to other states) is directly passed on through death due to the lack of taxation.

    A last will and testament gives the final wishes of the deceased, and Texas law has many specific functions of living and final wills. Some are not different from many other states, but a few points make drafting a will in Texas different from other locations in the US, so careful preparation is needed to ensure validity.

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