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Texas Last Will and Testament Template

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Texas last will and testament options to suit your needs

Basic Will

A last will template that covers the essentials

FREE

Template has limited personalization

What’s included:
  • A fillable template that meets basic needs
  • Compliant with your state’s laws

Last Will and Testament

For One Person

A do-it-yourself last will that’s easy to personalize.

$99
What’s included:
  • Step-by-step guided process
  • Attorney-approved document compliant with your state’s laws
  • A last will and testament that’s customized to your wishes
  • Free changes and revisions to your will for up to one full year after purchase

BEST VALUE

Estate Planning Package

For One person

All the forms you need to create a personal estate plan

$189
What’s included:
  • Last will and testament
  • Health care directive
  • Power of attorney
  • Free HIPAA release form
  • A comprehensive plan — for less
  • Free changes and revisions for up to one year after purchase

Still not sure what estate planning tools you need?


Do I really need a will in Texas?

You are not legally required to have a will, but it is a good idea to have one. Through your will, you can choose for yourself the people or organizations that should receive your property and pick guardians for minor children, decide what age beneficiaries can access their inheritance, and safeguard your estate by explicitly disinheriting individuals you do not wish to inherit.

If you fail to make a will, Texas intestacy laws will determine who receives your assets. The intestacy laws provide a list of relatives who will inherit from you if you do not have a valid will. If you have a spouse or children, they will be the first to inherit from you. If you do not have a spouse or children, the court will move down the list from closer relatives to more distant relatives until it finds someone to inherit from you. If the court exhausts its search without finding an heir, the state of Texas will inherit your property.

The intestacy laws are a decent fallback option for courts, but the court process for intestacy is often longer and more expensive than the process when you have a will. You also have no control over who receives your assets under intestacy.

Download a free Texas last will and testament template right here. You can download, edit, and print these documents in PDF or Word.

Jeff_Burtka_image

Written by:

Jeff Burtka, Esq.

Contributing Author

Reviewed by:

Laura Temme, Esq.

Senior Legal Writer

How It Works

It only takes minutes to control your future. Need help? Contact one of our directory attorneys.

Create an account

Create a secure account which is accessible through an easy dashboard you can access any time.

Gather information

You will need a list of your assets, contact information for important people, and any wishes you want to be honored when you’re gone.

Complete your documents

Answer all questions, then we’ll generate your digital documents for downloading, printing, and signing.

Make it legal

Carefully follow the instructions provided in the form, which may include signing your documents in front of witnesses or a notary.

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Plan for your future with confidence

This free guide will help you:

  • Learn the most common estate planning terms

  • Understand the essential estate planning tools

  • Gather critical information with an estate planning checklist

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How to get a will in Texas

If you want a valid will in Texas, you must ensure it complies with Texas law. A Texas estate planning attorney can make a will, or you can purchase a will form from a reputable source. Follow these steps when making a will:

Make a list of your assets

List everything you own, such as real estate, personal property, bank accounts, life insurance, and retirement accounts. Determine which items will be given through your will and which you will give through other means.

Some items, such as life insurance and retirement accounts, will be paid to the beneficiaries named in your account documents and will not go through probate. You also may want to put some items in a trust to keep them out of probate.

Even if you try to avoid probate by creating a trust, it is still wise to have a will because it can dispose of items you forgot to put into a trust. A will is also an easy way to give family heirlooms or similar items to specific people. Finally, probate is not necessarily a bad option for everyone, and both wills and trusts have their pros and cons.

Choose your beneficiaries

As the testator, you can devise assets to anyone you choose, including charities. Clearly describe who will receive family heirlooms and sentimental items. It is easy to divide money equally, but you do not want your family members fighting over how to divide antiques. If you are thinking of giving money to a charity, contact them to find out what type of gifts they will accept.

Choose an executor

Your executor will manage your estate’s assets and distribute your assets according to your will’s instructions. You must choose someone you trust and who is responsible, and you should pick one or more successor executors to serve if your first choice becomes unavailable. In Texas, you cannot name an executor who has a felony conviction, and your executor must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind.

You should ensure your choice is willing to serve as your executor because being an executor can be time-consuming. An executor’s duties include:

  • Locating and notifying your beneficiaries about the will and probate process
  • Identifying, collecting, and safeguarding your assets
  • Managing all legal actions on behalf of the estate
  • Notifying your creditors
  • Filing tax returns
  • Paying your estate’s expenses and taxes

However, your executor will not have to do the above on their own. They can use estate funds to hire attorneys, accountants, and other professionals to help.

Choose someone to care for your children

It can be difficult to imagine your children growing up without you, but you should think about who will care for them if the unexpected happens. You can name a guardian to care for your children in your will. Before choosing a guardian, talk to them and see if they want the responsibility and are willing to raise your children in accordance with your values.

You might want to consider creating a revocable living trust or testamentary trust and naming a trustee to manage your children’s assets. A trust gives you flexibility over the distribution of assets to your children. The person you name as trustee should be someone you trust and who has good judgment because they will be the caretaker of your children’s assets until your children are adults.

Execute your will with witnesses

Texas has detailed rules for executing a will. Your will must be in writing and signed by you. If you are unable to sign, you can direct another person in your presence to sign your will for you. It also must be attested by two or more witnesses who are at least 14 years old and who sign the will in your presence. Your witnesses should not be beneficiaries of your will.

Texas allows testators to make a self-proved will by doing one of the following:

  • The testator and witnesses sign sworn statements before a notary public when they execute the will
  • Attaching a self-proving affidavit that is sworn to by the witnesses and testator before a notary public at any time after the will is signed.

A sample sworn statement to include in the will and a sample self-proving affidavit to attach after the will is executed are available in the Texas Estates Code.

A self-proved will can save time for your witnesses and make probate move more quickly because a self-proved will can be admitted to probate without requiring your witnesses’ testimony.

Keep your will safe

A lost will is useless, so you must keep your will in a safe place and make sure your executor knows where it is. You also should consider telling trusted friends or family members its location in case your executor becomes incapacitated, dies, or cannot be found.

You can place your will in a secure place in your home. Only use a safe deposit box if your bank will allow your family or executor to access it in the event of your death. If you hire an attorney, their firm might store original wills for clients. However, firms can go out of business, so you will need to know what will happen to your will if your attorney’s firm closes. Another option is to file your will with your county clerk. The clerk will give you a certificate of deposit and keep your will under seal.

Review your will when your life changes

You should review your will every three to five years or if you have a major life change, such as a new child, to ensure it still meets your needs. A Texas estate planning attorney can review your will to see if it needs changes.

You may want to speak with a lawyer if you:

  • Have a past divorce, blended family, or other complex family situation
  • Have a high-value estate
  • Own a business
  • Want to create a special needs trust
  • Want legal review of your completed will
Find a local estate planning lawyer

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Create my will

Questions people often ask about Texas wills

A last will and testament, also called a will or last will, is a traditional estate planning document. You can use a will to direct what will happen to your money or property after you die and to name a guardian for your children.

As the person who makes a will, you will be called the testator. The people or charities who receive your assets through the will are called beneficiariesdevisees, or legatees.

A will tells a probate court how your assets should be distributed during the court process called probate. Unless your will is invalid or has illegal or impossible instructions, a court will ensure that your will is honored.

You do not need a lawyer to make a will in Texas, but a lawyer can help. If you do not own substantial assets, you can make a will with an easy-to-use will form. Before you sign your form, you can ask an estate planning attorney licensed in Texas to review it to ensure it meets your needs.

FindLaw is not a law firm, and the forms are not a substitute for the advice or services of an attorney. If you have a large net worth, children with different partners, a child with special needs, or have legal questions, an attorney can advise you about your estate plan and draft a will for you.

Texas attorneys charge a wide range of fees for wills. You could pay anywhere from $300 to more than $1000 for a will. The cost depends on the complexity of the will, the going rate in your city, and the lawyer’s experience. Some attorneys charge a fixed fee, and others charge an hourly rate. Most estate planning attorneys also offer an estate planning package that includes a will, a trust, and other estate planning documents.

You can also create these forms quickly and inexpensively from home with our DIY forms. (Note: FindLaw is not a law firm, and the forms are not a substitute for the advice or services of an attorney.)

Some states provide a free sample will form in their statutes. Texas does not. You might find free forms online, but you should be cautious about using one. There is no guarantee that a free form is designed to comply with Texas law.

If you decide to use a form, purchase one from a reputable source that tailors its forms to Texas law. We offer these easy-to-complete Texas will forms.

You can change provisions in your will by making a codicil, which is the legal term for an amendment to a will. A codicil must be signed and witnessed with the same formalities as a will. You should only use a codicil when making one or two minor changes. If you are making a significant change, you should create a new will.

Under Texas law, you can revoke a will by executing a new will or a written declaration that the will is revoked that is executed in the same manner as a will. You also can revoke a will by destroying it, but it is better to revoke it in writing to avoid any claims that you did not intend to revoke your will. When using a new will to revoke previous wills, it should state that it revokes all previous wills and codicils.

In Texas, a will that is entirely in your handwriting is called a holographic will. A holographic will does not need to be signed by witnesses to be valid. However, witnesses will need to confirm your handwriting before the will is probated unless it is self-proved. You also can create a self-proved holographic will by attaching an affidavit stating:

  • It is your will
  • You were 18 years old or older, were married, or a member of the United States armed forces when you executed the will
  • You were of sound mind when you executed it
  • You have not revoked the will

Even though they are legal, you should avoid using a holographic will unless you have no other option. Courts are more likely to reject holographic wills because it might not be clear you intended to make a will, or a court might not be able to interpret your handwriting. It is better to use a form will or ask an attorney to draft one for you.

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