What are some basic will requirements in Texas?

The basic requirements that make a will valid in Texas are similar to what makes a will valid across the country. In fact, in most cases, a will is still valid even when a person moves states as long as the will execution is legal.

According to the Texas Estates Code, not everyone can execute — or legally sign — a will. A person must first be deemed of sound mind. Unless the person is married or serving in the armed forces, he or she must be 18 years old or older to execute a will.

The will must be signed by the person making the will or by a legal representative of that person. At the time the will is signed, at least two witnesses who are 14 years old or older and are considered credible must sign to indicate they witnessed the will’s execution. The witness requirement is waived if a person writes and signs an entire will in their own hand; this is known as a holographic will.

The Estates Code says that a will can include directions about how property will be distributed among heirs. It may also include a list of people to be disinherited; those people would not receive property under the will.

In some cases, individuals may create a self-proved will. Such a document is accompanied by an affidavit that attests to the validity of the will. Numerous options exist for completing a legal will, and drafting a will may not be the only thing a person can do to protect heirs and the estate. Understand all estate planning options and how those tools work together is the best way to ensure your wishes are carried out.

Source: Texas Estates Code, “Fundamental Requirements and Provisions Relating To Wills” Aug. 15, 2014