Do you need a will in Texas? In this video, Attorney Brian Bankhead talks about when you need a will and when you need to update an existing will. Call or text 800-929-1725 for an appointment at our offices in Fort Bend County, Wharton County, and Matagorda County.
Summary of Do You Need a Will in Texas
Good afternoon. My name is Brian Bankhead. I’m an attorney at Wadler, Perches, Hundl, and Kerlick. And today, I thought I’d take a minute and talk to you about whether you need a will in Texas.
What’s the Function of a Will
So first off, many people have a misconception necessarily what a will does. A lot of people think that a will first and foremost gives away all your stuff when you die. While that might be the case, it generally does a lot more than just giving your stuff away.
We draft a will in a fashion so that it effectuates your wishes, not just for your stuff, but your estate, which will encompass more than just your stuff for when you pass away. So by having a will, you can have your wishes effectuated for your estate, your property, and your friends and family.
Do You Need a Texas Will if You Move from Another State
I get some questions from people who come from out-of-state, who may have had a will drafted in other states like Ohio, Oklahoma, or California. They come to Texas, they now live here, and they have this will from another state. And they’re curious if their will is still good at Texas.
Texas has a statutory provision that states that a will drafted in another state and executed in that state with that state’s formalities will be recognized in Texas, regardless of whether those formalities match Texas statutory requirements for a will. So, on paper, the will should be good. However, if there is any question about the validity of the will or if we need to effectuate the will, those requirements can now be questioned in court.
So what in effect will happen is that Texas attorneys will then be arguing another state’s law on whether that will, that was drafted and executed in that state was correctly executed in that state. A Texas attorney is best equipped to argue and analyze documents under Texas law — not the law of another state.
If you’re going to move permanently to Texas, it is best to have a Texas attorney review your will. Your attorney will likely recommend that you have a new will drafted and executed with the formalities required in Texas. So if there’s any question about the validity of the will, or if there’s any contest about the will, a Texas attorney will be arguing Texas law. That is the strongest position you can be in to protect your estate.
Do I Need to Update My Texas Will
If you have an old Texas will, we recommend reviewing it because things can happen over the years. The typical example is that your family’s makeup will change. Maybe you were single when you had it drafted, or perhaps you were married and have now become divorced. Maybe you have had kids, and maybe your kids have grown up. Maybe they’re adults now.
Provisions in a will reflect a moment in time. When your situation changes, a will likewise should be changed to reflect that situation. As you get older, you get wiser, and hopefully, you become more prosperous. It would be best if you started looking into ways to protect your estate. A will can be drafted in ways that can help you manage that estate.
So we can start looking into wills that open trusts to protect your assets or dispense them into charities. Maybe you can give them to other beneficiaries or new beneficiaries you had not thought of before. Perhaps new people have come into your life that you wish to make beneficiaries. Those are perfect examples of why you would need to have a new will drafted even if you have an old will.
Do You Need a Will to Name a New Executor
There’s a very important person we name in our wills called an executor. We trust this person to take our will when we pass away and effectuate its terms. The executor will manage what becomes of your estate when you pass away. So maybe the executor that you initially had named in an old will is no longer around. Perhaps you had a falling out, or maybe you found someone else that you would prefer. Maybe the person you named executor in an earlier will cannot be executor now. So that’s another reason why we might want to either draft a whole new will or amend the will.
What Happens If You Die Without a Will
And finally, if you do not have a will at all, I would highly recommend getting a will drafted. Like I’ve said previously in this video, a will is our statement to the world about how we would want to effectuate our estate when we pass away.
If you do not have a will, Texas statutory provisions will determine what will happen to your estate. When you pass away without a will, you die intestate. That means you have not told the world what your wishes are for your estate. So what happens to your stuff? The state will determine that for you. And the state is hardly the best entity to assess your specific circumstances and situations or your wishes. So we recommend that if you don’t have a will, let’s not worry about Texas having its say, and let’s let you have your say.
Thank you very much.
Let Us Help You with Your Estate Plan
Call 800-929-1725 for an appointment to review your existing will or draft a new one. We offer a special price for estate plans for both couples and singles. Protect those you love and ensure that your wishes are followed when you die.