Wills / Estate Planning

          A will is a legal document that states how the testator's property is to be distributed upon his/her death.  Creating a will is an important step in planning the distribution of your estate.  Additionally, you may designate the individual(s) who will care for minor children or set up a trust by which property is held for the benefit of another.  Texas wills allow for any children, your spouse, other family members, and even pets to be provided for after your death.

Requirements for creating a will in Texas :

         Though there are certain exceptions, generally a testator must be at least 18 years old, married, or serving in the armed forces.  The testator must be of sound mind, that is, capable of reasoning and making decisions, not forced or deceived into making a will, and have the intent to pass the property on as directed by the will at death.

         The will must be signed by the testator or another person at his or her direction in the testator’s presence.  Finally, this will must be attested to by two credible witnesses above the age of 14 and be signed by the witnesses in the presence of the testator.

Changing and Revoking:

         A Texas will and testament can be modified and is accomplished with a document called a codicil.  Codicils must also be executed in accordance with Texas probate laws in order to be effective.


         The validity of a will must be proved in court within 4 years after the death of the testator.  Probate procedures prove a will's validity, pay off debts, and distribute property per the will.  A will that is not proved in court is denied probate and the property then passes to his or her heirs through intestacy.


         It is extremely important to make a will if you want to control the distribution of your estate.  If you die before doing so, you are said to have died "intestate" and your property will be distributed strictly according to Texas state laws without the consideration of your wishes.

Limitations on property distribution:

        In Texas, it is important to consider how community property is handled.  Because each spouse retains only one-half of community property, if a will attempts to give away all the community property, the surviving spouse may renounce the entire will and take claim to their share of the community property.  It is important to have an attorney review your property and write a will that will be deemed valid.