This guest article was written by an attorney who practices in Texas. While the focus of this article is on Texas law, the general concepts surrounding wills — especially the need to have a will — are similar in every state.
By Attorney Keith Morris
Special to THELAW.TV
Most people know they should make out a will at some point. Usually this point is a vague, arbitrary time in the future. For a lot of people, that time never comes, and their loved ones are left to fight the Texas probate system over who gets what from your estate.
Drafting a will is one of the most important things you can do for your loved ones. With this legal document, you can ensure that your property, personal belongings, and other assets will go to whomever you wish. It is even more important to have a will if you have minor children, as this is the place where you can name a guardian for them.
Dying without a will means that Texas intestacy laws will dictate how your estate is divided and who will receive shares. Even with a small estate, this process can be long and costly for your loved ones. Having a legal will can prevent these problems for your family and friends during an already difficult time.
Making A Legal Will
While having a will is something everyone should do, it’s also vital to make sure that the will is legal and will be declared valid by a Texas probate court after you die. If the will is declared invalid, then intestacy laws will still be followed when dividing your estate. This defeats the purpose of having made a will in the first place.
For most people, drafting a legal will means having an experienced probate attorney draw up the document on your behalf and according to your wishes. A probate attorney can also help with establishing trusts and guardianships for your minor children, as well as amending or altering your will at a later time through the execution of a codicil.
Keith Morris is the co-founder of Jones Morris Klevenhagen, L.L.P, a law firm in Houston, Texas. He helps clients in a wide range of probate, estate planning and fiduciary litigation issues.