If you are a careful person who likes to plan for the future and doesn’t like to take unnecessary risks, you have probably spent a lot of time thinking about what you want your estate plan to do once you are no longer around. It would be a shame, then, for a judge to declare that your will or other estate planning documents are invalid because they were improperly executed.
Statutory will requirements
Under Texas law, a will has several requirements in order to be validly executed, which are as follows:
- The will must be in writing
- The will must be signed by you, or by someone on your behalf if they sign it with your permission and in your presence
- The will must have the signatures of two witnesses, 14 years old or older, who sign your will in your presence
In addition, you must be of sound mind and able to understand the extent of your property and the significance of creating an estate plan at the time that you write and sign it. This is called having testamentary capacity.
If a judge decides that your will is invalid because it lacks any of the above elements, then they will have to proceed under Texas’s intestacy laws. These are laws that govern how a court must distribute the assets of people who die without a valid estate plan in place.
Where your assets will end up under intestate succession depends upon the family members that you leave behind. If you have a spouse, they will take one-third of your estate, and the rest will go to your children. If you have no children, then your spouse will keep all of it. If you have no spouse, then your estate will be divided among other family members, such as your parents.
You worked your entire life to build up your legacy, and you know exactly where you want your wealth to go. Make sure that you follow Texas’s will execution requirements in order to avoid leaving a mess for your loved ones when you pass away.