Texas recognizes three types of wills. Oral, handwritten and typewritten wills are all valid in the state. Texas Probate Code includes the state’s requirements for wills and includes detailed instructions on creating basic documents. You may prepare a will in Texas if you are at least 18 years old,or if you are under 18 but lawfully married or a member of the military.
Handwritten and Typed Wills
Write or Type "Last Will and Testament" at the top of a sheet of paper or in a word processing program. Add your name, address and the date. Then declare that you are of sound mind and body.
Compile a list of your next of kin, the surviving members of your family or anyone else you would like to receive your property at your death. Create an inventory list of all of your assets, including your financial assets and all types of property. Decide how you want your property to be disseminated among your survivors. Write or type instructions on allocating your property.
Decide, along with your spouse or partner, how you want your minor or disabled children to be taken care of after your death. Create a guardianship arrangement that includes options for care in the event that both parents die at the same time.
Choose a person to be the executor. This is the person who carries out the instructions in your will. Always check with the executor to ensure she is willing to take on the task. You may also choose to add another executor should the first person named be unable to perform the task or precede in death.
Select at least two people who are at least 14 years old to be witnesses for your will. Sign the will and ask your witnesses to sign.
Write a self-proving affidavit for your will as mandated by Texas Probate Code, Section 59 for handwritten and typewritten wills. The code includes a template for an affidavit. Copy the wording of the template and fill in the blanks left for your county, the date, your name and the names of your witnesses, in the presence of a notary public.
Assemble two witnesses to listen to you state your oral will if your property is valued at $30 or less. If your property is valued at more than $30, assemble at least three witnesses.
State the conditions of your will in the presence of your witnesses and designate who will receive your personal property.
Create a written record of your will within six days of making the will, unless it is made during your last illness and at your home. A will that has not been committed to writing within six days cannot be probated more than six months after death, so it will be as though you died intestate.
Gifts of real estate cannot be transferred through an oral will since real estate transfers in Texas must be in writing.
Make copies of your will and keep them in a safe place like a safe deposit box. Make sure to tell someone you trust where they can find your will after you die.
If possible, consult with an attorney to help you prepare your will.
Lauren Miller has more than 10 years of experience as a writer and editor. Her articles on technology, small business and legal topics have appeared in magazines, newspapers and trade journals. She has a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and is an avid gardener and sports fan.