Single Wills

Texas recognizes several different types of wills. This article will focus on single wills, which are wills that distribute only one person’s property.

WHAT IS A WILL?

A will is a document that distributes a deceased person’s property to their relatives and loved ones. It is a way for the deceased to carry out their wishes once they are no longer with us. An individual that has made a will or is in the process of making a will is called a “Testator.” There are different types of single wills. Two of the most common types are (1) formal wills, also called attested wills; and (2) handwritten wills, also called holographic wills.

WILL REQUIREMENTS

Different requirements need to be met to make a valid will in Texas. Generally, you must be at least 18 years old to make a will. However, there are exceptions to this rule: If you are currently married or have ever been married, you are free to make a will regardless of your age. Also, if you are currently serving in the armed forces, the age requirement does not apply. Another requirement is that you must be of sound mind at the time you make the will. Furthermore, you must intend that the document you are drafting to be your will. Any will that is drafted in Texas must meet these requirements.

In addition to the requirements above, there are specific requirements for the different types of wills. Remember, there are two types of single wills; (1) formal wills, and (2) handwritten wills. Each of these wills has their own different requirements in addition to the requirements listed above.

A formal will must be in writing, so it may either be typed or handwritten. It must be signed by the Testator, and it must be signed by at least two witnesses above the age of 14. It is important to note that when the witnesses sign the will, they must sign in the presence of the Testator. In contrast, a handwritten will must be signed by the Testator, and it must be written entirely in the Testator’s handwriting. There is not a witness requirement for a handwritten will; therefore, a handwritten will does not need to be signed by any witnesses. Again, a will must meet the general requirements for all wills, as well as its own specific requirements that are dependent on the type of will. If a will does not meet all of the requirements it could be declared to be invalid.

HIRE A PROFESSIONAL

Drafting a will seems simple enough, but wills and probate is a special area of the law that when the proper procedures are not taken, problems can arise years later. Hiring a professional to draft your will can help prevent problems from occurring in the future. It can prevent confusion after probate, and ensure that your true intentions are carried out.

If you or a loved is thinking about drafting a will, the attorneys at Guest and Gray Law Firm can help. We are located in old downtown Forney across from City Hall. The lawyers of Guest and Gray Law Firm have decades of combined Kaufman County experience. We proudly serve all of Kaufman County, including Forney, Terrell, Kaufman, Crandall, Mesquite, Mabank and Scurry-Rosser.