What You Need to Know When Preparing Your Will

Posted in Will Contest on July 9, 2022

Your last will and testament is one of the most important documents that you will create in your life. This document will serve as the foundation of your estate plan and help your family members through the process of dividing your assets and handling your final affairs.

However, drafting a will isn’t simple—there are several important considerations that you will need to make. Here is what you need to know when preparing your will in Texas.

Understand the Legal Requirements

Many people prepare wills that are not legally valid. Before setting out to write your will, ensure that it meets the following requirements as established by Texas law:

  • The will is in writing, meaning that it exists in a physical copy. You will need to write the will by hand or type it on a computer and print it out.
  • You created the will when you were at least 18 years old, legally married, or in the military.
  • You are of sound mind and memory, meaning that you know what it means to make a will; understand the nature and extent of your property and relationships; and are capable of making reasonable judgments.
  • You made your will freely, voluntarily, and without the undue influence of other people.
  • You signed your will in the presence of at least two credible witnesses, or people who are at least 14 years old and would not receive any financial benefit from your will.

Take Inventory of Your Assets

The division of your assets will be of the most important components of your will. Before you start preparing your will, it is important to understand the full extent of your property. Take time to list out all of your financial assets, including properties, bank accounts, retirement funds, and investment accounts.

Account for Your Debts and Tax Obligations

Your debts and tax obligations will need to be paid before your loved ones can inherit anything from your will, so it is important to understand what your estate will need to pay upon your death. You do not need to include this information in the will, but planning for them can be helpful.

Think about the debts that you may owe and make a plan to pay them off if possible. If you have a large estate, you may also owe state or federal taxes; in these situations, it is important to consult with an estate lawyer who can help you understand your potential tax obligations.

Appoint the Right Executors and Beneficiaries

The executor is the person who is responsible for carrying out the terms of your will and managing your estate. You want to appoint someone you trust for this position, so take time to think about who you would like to be in charge of your affairs.

Additionally, if you have beneficiaries that you would like to leave assets in your will, take time to think about who you would like to include.

Speak to a Texas Trust and Estate Attorney

If you are creating a will in Texas, you need an attorney on your side who can help you meet all legal requirements and ensure that you have a strong estate plan in place. A Texas trust and estate litigation attorney can provide the support and resources that you need during this process.

Contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your estate plan and begin preparing your will.