What Makes a Will Legal?

If you’ve begun the process of creating your will, you may have some legality concerns. Keep reading to find out what makes a will legal!
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Staff Writer, @DooleyNotedLaw

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Many people think that you need to have an attorney to make a Living Will & Testament. However, this isn’t true. You can make a will without an attorney. Nevertheless, it is safer to consult an estate planning lawyer in Texas. Ultimately, when it comes to something as important as your assets, you don’t want to take any chances. 

Requirements for Signing a Will

To make your Will legal in the state of Texas, you must be on of the following:

  • You must be 18 or older
  • Married or previously married
  • Member of the U.S. armed forces

If you do not meet any of the above requirements, you may still make a will, but it will not be legal.

The Will Must State its Intent

Making a Will is important because it declares how you want your property distributed after you die. Above all, there must be no confusion about the document. So, you need to clearly label it as your Last Will and Testament. Moreover, if you do not mark the document as a will, it will be void.

Your Will should state the names of all the people who will inherit your assets or become responsible for decision-making. If you do not name an heir, the state of Texas will distribute your property according to its laws.

Additionally, if you have minor children, you need to choose a guardian who can care for them if something happens to you and their other parent. This person should be someone you trust entirely and has enough time and resources to take on this responsibility.

The Testator Must Have Mental Capacity

When writing a will, you must be of “sound mind.” This means that you, the testator, must understand the nature and value of your property and whom you would like to receive it. Additionally, you must be fully aware of what you own and where you live. You must be able to communicate your wishes concerning your property when you pass away.

Further, it is essential to be aware of your physical and mental health. If you have any questions about whether or not you are of sound mind, you should consult with a lawyer.

Can I handwrite my Will?

The validity of a handwritten Will, also known as a Holographic Will, varies from state to state. In general, about half of the states in the U.S. accept Holographic Wills. However, they have to be entirely handwritten by the testator (the person making the Will) and signed by them.

Some states do not accept Holographic Wills. Although, some states make an exception if the document is from a foreign country where such Wills are valid. To determine if a handwritten will is valid in your state, you should speak with an estate planning lawyer.

If you decide to write a handwritten Will, it is crucial to have people who can witness your handwriting. If there ever is a question about the validity of the Will, there is proof that you wrote it.

While a handwritten Will may be valid in some states, it’s generally not the best idea to rely on one. In contrast, it’s better to type a Will and have witnesses. This makes it more difficult for someone to accuse you of not writing the Will or someone forcing you to sign it. If you have any questions about wills or estate planning, be sure to speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer in Texas.

Does my Will need to be notarized?

Some states require Wills to be notarized for them to be valid. However, even if your state doesn’t have this requirement, it’s a good idea to have the document notarized. This is because it helps to ensure that you actually signed the Will and executed it correctly.

Additionally, if there ever is a question about the validity of the Will, having it notarized can help provide evidence that you signed it.

Why hire an Estate Planning Lawyer in Texas?

Although you can create a will on your own, it is always a good idea to have an estate planning lawyer do it for you. Moreover, lawyers know about complex legal issues that might come up when creating a will. Therefore, it is vital to have an experienced estate planning lawyer help you.

Additionally, an estate planning lawyer can also help you plan for potential tax implications related to your estate. This will ensure that your loved ones won’t have to worry about these implications after you’re gone.

If you’re ready to start Estate Planning, be sure to speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer in Texas. At Dooley Noted, we specialize in Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning and would be happy to assist you with all of your needs!

The contents of this post, and the posting and viewing of the information on this post, should not be construed as, and should not be relied upon for, legal advice in any particular circumstance or fact situation. An attorney should be contacted for advice on specific legal issues.

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