Wills in Texas Estate Planning

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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The creation of a will is important, but the requirements for creating a valid one will vary widely from state to state. This article will focus on the laws and process of drafting a will document in Texas.

Texas Independent Executor

In Texas estate planning there are a few legal considerations unique to the state. First, Texas allows people to designate an independent executor in their wills. In general, an executor is the person responsible for administering the decendent’s estate in accordance with the defined wishes in the will document. By designating the executor as independent, the creator of the will is allowing them to administer the estate with relative ease and for less cost than may otherwise be required. An independent executor is essentially authorized to carry out the actions of the will without court supervision. This is as opposed to a dependent executor, who must first obtain approval of the courts before proceeding with most tasks.  

It is important to note that a person must specifically designate someone to be the independent executor. If this designation is not made, the executor is considered dependent, which will require more work and a greater cost in the probate process.

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Self-Proving Affidavits in Texas

Additionally, Texas law allows someone creating a will to attach what is known as a Self-Proving Affidavit to his or her will. This affidavit alleviates the need for witnesses to come to court at the time of probate to prove the contents of the will. Likewise, it permits the witnesses and person creating the will to attest to the fact that everyone was of sound mind and of the appropriate age at the time the will was created. By including a Self-Proving Affidavit, the process involved in recognizing the will as valid at death becomes easier and less expensive.

Texas Wills and Trusts

Anytime someone creates a will, they should consider making provisions for the care of minor children. Additionally, they should consider various Texas trust options that might allow for more efficient administration of an estate or provide benefits for children beyond those only recognized upon turning 18 years old. While some trusts are created separately from a will, various trust options exist for creating trusts within a will, which will not go into effect until after the creator of the will has died.

Some statistics say that over 50% of Texans do not have a will. The creation of a will is very simple and it can save a lot of time and expense to friends and family after death. Accordingly, it is advisable that every Texan, regardless of age or location, should consult with a Texas wills attorney and discuss the creation of a will document.

Sponsored Content: Ford & Mathiason LLP, a Texas Estate Planning and Probate firm. Used with permission.

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