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No one likes to think about the fact that they will one day pass away, but planning for your death and what happens to your estate after you’re gone will save your loved ones time and stress. A will is one of the simplest ways to ensure that your last wishes are carried out.

What is a Will? 

A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for how your property will be distributed after your death and who will take care of your minor children if you should die before they reach adulthood. Wills are an important part of any estate plan. If you die without a will, your last wishes may not be carried out. Your heirs may also be forced to spend a great deal of time and money settling your estate.

For a will to be legal and valid in Texas, it must meet the following requirements:

  • Be in writing.
  • Be signed by you or another individual at your discretion and in your presence.
  • Witnessed by at least two other credible individuals over the age of 14.
  • Signed by the witnesses in your presence.

You, the testator, must also be:

  • Of sound mind at the time of the will’s execution.
  • Of legal capacity to create a will in Texas, which means that you must be at least one of the following: at least 18 years of age, serving in the armed forces, or married or previously married.
  • Creating the will at your own discretion, meaning that you were not coerced or forced into creating the document.
  • Creating the will with testamentary intent. This means that, at the time of the will’s creation, your intent was to pass down property upon your death.

Why is a Will Important? 

You may assume that wills are only for wealthy individuals, but everyone can benefit from having a will. It’s especially important to have one if you have assets, heirlooms, or other items that you want to be given to specific individuals.

A will puts you in the driver’s seat, so you control who gets what after your death.

There are many advantages to having a will:

  • You decide who inherits your assets and how much they inherit.
  • You can determine who will care for your minor children in the event of your death.
  • You can ensure that certain assets don’t wind up in the wrong hands.

If you don’t make these decisions through your will, the court will make them for you. And the court’s decision may not be what you would have wanted. Wills also speed up the probate process, so your heirs have an easier time accessing your assets.

Do I Need an Attorney to Create a Will? 

While it’s possible to prepare a valid will on your own, it’s in your best interest to work with an experienced Houston will attorney. An attorney can help ensure that everything is in order, so your family doesn’t run into issues after your death. It’s also important to remember that a will is just one part of your estate plan. A will attorney may also be able to help with other estate planning documents that will cover all of your last wishes.

What Should be Included in My Will? 

A will can cover a number of things, but some of the most important things to include are:

Your Executor 

Your will should name your executor. This is the person who will carry out your wishes. He or she will meet with your family after you pass away. Before naming an executor, make sure that you speak with the person and get his or her approval. The executor has a difficult job, so it’s important to choose someone who is up to the task.

Your Assets 

This is one of the most important things to include in your will, and it’s also one of the simplest ways to distribute your assets to your heirs.

Through your will, you can determine who inherits each of your assets, including:

  • Family heirlooms
  • Vehicles
  • Money
  • Bank accounts

If you want to leave your 1960 Mustang to your grandchild or your great-grandmother’s doll collection to your great-niece, you can do so through your will. Real property can also be included in your will, but the process is more complicated and one that really requires the help of an attorney.

Guardianship 

If you are the parent of minor children, your will can dictate who will take guardianship of your children if you should die before they reach adulthood. Including guardianship wishes in your will is one of the best ways to ensure that your children are taken care of by the people of your choosing.

Pet Caretakers 

If you have pets, you can name caretakers for your furry companions if you should pass away while they are still alive. Pets are typically passed to spouses or next-of-kin, but if there’s a specific person who you’d like to care for your pets, you can name him or her in your will.

Make sure that you discuss this with the person before naming him or her in your will.

Finding the Best Houston Will Attorney for You 

A will is an essential estate planning document that will dictate who inherits your assets. Don’t take chances with your last wishes. Working with an experienced Houston will attorney can ensure that your will is legal, valid, and comprehensive.

A Houston Will Attorney Here To Support You

Whenever you find yourself needing to reach out to our office, you can be sure you won’t need to wait for hours or days in order to get a response. Here at Stafford Law Firm, we pride ourselves on being easily accessible and on responding to all client inquiries as soon as possible.

The fact of the matter is, one day you will need to fall back on your estate plan. Whether it will simply be to pass on your family’s wealth after you pass, or something even more heartbreaking like needing a new guardian appointment for your children, having a thorough and customized plan in place will help make sure your family and your future are well taken care of. This plan will often need to include a will, and you can rest easy knowing that an experienced Houston Will Attorney has your best interests at heart.

Reach out today for a free consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

When creating your will, you can only include assets that you own individually. This means that you can’t include any property you own with your spouse or any property owned in a living trust. You also cannot include life insurance proceeds that have a beneficiary, or retirement plan proceeds. Passing these onto your loved ones after your death will require separate documentation.

If you own property without anyone else on the deed, there are a few simple ways to make sure your child inherits it. You can include it in your will, you can sign a transfer on death deed, or you can even gift the property to them before you pass.

Wills and trusts are two different documents that accomplish different things. Most people will find that their estate plan will benefit from having a will and one or more trusts. An experienced Houston will attorney will be able to review your particular situation and help you come up with the right set of documents in order to carry out your wishes.