You are never too young to set up a last will and testament. A will is a foundational and essential estate planning document. It will help you provide clarity and protection to your family and loved ones. You can use your will to:
- Express your final wishes;
- Provide instructions for funeral arrangement;
- Name an executor;
- Distribute money and/or property to your selected beneficiaries; and
- Name a personal guardian for the care of minor children.
At Weisinger Law Firm, PLLC, we want to ensure that you know how to set up a legally valid will that actually works for you and the people you care about most. In this article, our San Antonio estate planning attorney explains what you should know about creating a will in Texas.
Know the Requirements for Setting Up a Will in Texas
Wills are regulated by state law. A will that fails to meet the legal requirements is not going to be accepted by a probate court. To set up a valid and enforceable will in San Antonio, you must follow the requirements found under Texas Estates Code § 251.001. Specifically, here are three key things you should know about making a will:
- Writing: In Texas, oral wills are not enforceable. A will must be written in order to be valid. While it is best to use a computer generated, professionally drafted will, a handwritten will can also be valid.
- Signed: An unsigned will can be challenged. To be sure that your will is accepted by a Texas probate court, make sure that you sign it.
- Witnesses: Unless your will is handwritten (in your own writing), Texas law requires you to have two witnesses who are 14 years of age or older. It is generally best to get witnesses who are not listed as beneficiaries in the will.
As long as you are of sound mind and legal capacity, you have the right to revise (or revoke) your will. Indeed, with the help of an experienced attorney, revising a professionally drafted will to meet life’s ever-changing circumstances does not have to be complicated. That being said, if you do revise or revoke your will, make sure that the changes are clear. You do not want to leave your family and friends with confusion or conflict over multiple wills with contradictory terms.
Creating a Will is a Personal Matter: Customize it to Meet Your Needs
Your will should provide true peace, security, and protection to you and your family. Drafting a will that is accepted as legally valid by a probate court is not enough. Make sure your will is fully customized to meet your individual goals and needs. While there are some limits on what you can and cannot do with a will, you have a considerable amount of discretion in managing your own estate. With guidance from an experienced San Antonio estate planning attorney, you can craft a will that effectively carries out your wishes and protects your beneficiaries.
A Will Should Be Part of a Comprehensive Estate Plan
Setting up a will is one of the most important steps in the estate planning process. In most cases, it is the first thing that people do when building out their estate. At the same time, a will is not necessarily sufficient to meet all of your estate plan needs. It should be part of a comprehensive estate plan that protects you and your family—regardless of what might happen. Depending on your circumstances, your estate plan may also include:
- Up-to-date beneficiary designations;
- Life insurance;
- Powers of attorney;
- Advanced medical directives.
Estate planning is not one-size-fits-all. You and your family deserve a comprehensive plan that is narrowly tailored to suit your individual needs. Our San Antonio estate planning team can sit down with you, take the time to answer your questions, and help you set up a will and build a more detailed estate plan that provides the reliable protection you need to find a true sense of peace and security.
Call Our San Antonio, TX Estate Planning Lawyers Today
At Weisinger Law Firm, PLLC, our Texas estate planning attorney has the professional knowledge and real world experience that you can count on. If you have any questions about setting up a will, we are more than happy to help. Contact our firm now to arrange your free, completely confidential initial consultation. From our office in Selma, we represent people and families throughout the region, including in San Antonio, Hollywood Park, New Braunfels, Terrell Hills, and Shavano Park.