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The Basics Of A Will

Who Needs a Will?

Everyone needs a will!!

If you don’t currently have a will, your loved ones may not receive the assets you wish to leave them in the event of your death.

What is a Will?

A will is a legal document that sets forth your wishes regarding the distribution of your estate and the care of any minor children. In order to ensure that all of your final wishes are met, a will that is set forth in writing, and signed by you and your witnesses is the best method for executing these wishes. In order to create a duly executed will a testator (the person making the will) must be 18 years or older, the will must be signed by two attesting witnesses, and the testator must have testamentary capacity (understand that you are bequeathing property on your death).

Different Types of Wills


A self-proving will is a will that has at least two attesting witnesses that sign under the penalty of perjury that they observed the testator sign the will. A self proving will is notarized by a Texas Notary. If the validity of the will is not contested, the probate court will accept the will.

Holographic Will

A holographic will is will that is wholly in the testator’s handwriting and that does not have to be witnessed. To be valid, this type if will MUST be entirely handwritten and the will must contain language of testamentary intent. Testamentary intent is the intent to devise property in the will (Ex. I give Jane my pearl earrings).

Why Do I Need a Will?

Creating a will gives you sole discretion over the distribution of your assets. It lets you decide how your belongings, such as cars or family heirlooms, should be distributed.

If you have minor children, a will lets you provide for their care. If you have children from a prior marriage, even if they are adults, your will can dictate the assets they receive. Creating a will also minimizes tensions among survivors. Relatives battling over your possessions can weaken what may have otherwise been strong family.

What Happens if I Die Without a Will?

If you do not have a will, you die intestate. In such a case, the state will oversee the distribution of your assets.

The estate will be distributed half of your estate to your spouse and the other half to your children. This method can often create financial and emotional difficulties. Tax considerations are another important issue to consider, as a properly prepared will can minimize tax liability.

What is worse than dying without a will, is having a do-it-yourself will. This may cause more harm than good. If anything, schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer to go over your options and a will that is best suited for you.


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The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

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