When a person passes away without a Will, family members and loved ones could be left in a precarious situation. Often time’s promises are made before death by the decedent that cannot be legally carried out after death without a valid Will. This results in family members bickering and fighting over the possessions of the decedent. To prevent this type of situation from occurring I always urge people to execute a valid Will in order to keep confusion down amongst family members in the event of their death.

Will Execution in Texas

A Will is a legal document that allows you to do a number of things such as:

1) Identify your beneficiaries;

2) Designate the way in which your property will be distributed;

3) Nominate a legal guardian for any minor children;

4) Nominate an executor to manage your estate, pay any debts, expenses and taxes, associated with your estate and distribute your estate according to your wishes.

To make a valid Will in Texas, you must have:

1) Legal capacity: you must be over the age of 18 to execute a valid Will;

2) Testamentary capacity: you must be of “sound mind” which means you must have the mental capacity to understand that you are executing a Will.

3) Testamentary intent: you must have the intention to make a revocable disposition of your property to take effect in the event of your death.

How to execute a valid Will:

To be valid a Will must:

1) Be in writing and signed by you, or another person at your direction and in your presence;

2) Signed by two credible witnesses over the age of 14 and in your presence.

3) There is also the option of adding a self-proving affidavit to the Will. The self- proving affidavit substitutes for in-court testimony of witnesses as to the validity of the Will, which saves considerable time and expense.

If you are considering drafting a Will, I would advise that you consult with an attorney so that there will be no doubt in your mind that it is a valid Will. If a will is deemed invalid by the court your wishes will not be carried out and the distribution of your estate will be governed by a statutory formula.