| Read Time: 3 minutes | Estate Planning
texas last will and testament

All adults should have a will.

Your Texas last will and testament allows you, rather than the state, to determine what should happen to your assets if you pass away.

But if you do not follow Texas will requirements, the document will not be valid.  

What Are the Texas Will Requirements?

To be binding and enforceable your will must meet Texas will requirements. For instance, Texas statutory law and case law required that to make a valid will in Texas:

  • You have legal capacity,
  • You have testamentary capacity, and
  • You have testamentary intent.

Let’s look at each of these requirements in terms of what they mean for Texas will requirements.

Legal Capacity

Legal capacity means that the court recognizes you as an adult at the time you made your will. This occurs in one of three ways. You have the legal capacity to make a will if you:

  • Are at least 18 years old, 
  • Have been legally married (even if not 18), or
  • Are a member of the US military.

So long as you meet at least one of the criteria above, you are assumed to have the legal capacity to create a will under Texas will laws.

Testamentary Capacity

Texas will requirements state that you must be of sound mind when you make your will. This is different from legal capacity in that it is not addressing whether you are a legal adult but instead whether you have the mental ability to understand what it means to create your Texas last will and testament. The courts want to be sure that when you created a will, you understood things such as:

  • What a will is and its impact;
  • What your personal property is;
  • Who your relatives are, and how they will be impacted by your will or lack thereof; and
  • Who you want to give your assets to.

Capacity is meant to protect those who may not understand Texas wills from having others take advantage of them to control their estate. 

Testamentary Intent

At the time you sign your will, are you intending fully and truly to make a legally binding document of a Texas last will and testament? If yes, you have met Texas will requirements regarding testamentary intent. However, if you are making the will as a joke, for instance, then the courts of Texas will find a lack of testamentary intent.

Other Legal Requirements

Capacity and intent are vital aspects of Texas will requirements. There are, however, additional Texas laws to be aware of. For instance, a will must be in writing. There are options for handwritten and typewritten wills. In addition, there are rules relating to signatures and witnesses. Courts will scrutinize every aspect of a will before declaring it valid.

Using a Texas Will Template: Beware

If you use a Texas will template, you are at great risk of failing to meet Texas will requirements. Individuals often end up with templates that are not up to date legally or executed properly. If this happens to you when you pass away, your loved ones will be left with a last will and testament Texas courts will not honor. 

Attorneys Specializing in Wills in Texas

To create a document that meets all Texas requirements, work with a law firm with expertise in estate planning.  A Texas attorney who concentrates their practice on wills, trust, and estates can ensure that:

  • You have a good analysis of your estate, upon which to create your will;
  • You have a legal professional to answer all your questions during the process;
  • You have a relationship with that attorney, who can later update your will as needed; and, most importantly,
  • You have a Texas last will and testament that fully meets all Texas will requirements.

Creating a valid will in Texas is a complex process for someone who does not specialize in this area. Those who create a last will and testament must execute all Texas will laws to a T.

Remove the stress and uncertainty of this process by working with a law firm that continually receives rave reviews. Then, you can focus on making sure your wishes are known, while they make sure you end up with a legally valid Texas last will and testament. 

Massingill: We Make It Simple

Massingill specializes in meeting the legal needs of Texas residents. Because of our flat fees, collaborative nature, and trusted legal excellence, we continually maintain a 5-star rating by clients. Call us today at 512-410-0343 or book an appointment online. We offer video, phone, and in-person consultations and make it easy for you.

Author Photo

Joshua Massingill

Joshua Massingill is an attorney practicing in Austin, Texas. He serves on the Texas State Bar’s Law Practice Management Committee, the Leander Educational Excellence Foundation (LEEF) Board of Directors, and the Success-Werx Board of Advisors. He mentors young entrepreneurs in Leander ISD’s INCubatorEDU program and is active in his church.

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