Wills in Texas

Last Will & Testament

Purpose

A last will and testament allows estate property to be distributed after your death to the beneficiaries you choose. It also allows you to appoint an executor for administering your estate, and it allows you to choose a guardian for any of your dependents who are left without a guardian.

Parties

You – The “Testator” is the legal term for the person who is writing the will and determining how their estate will be administered.

Executor – The executor is the administrator of the estate. With your expressed instruction in the will, the executor can administer your estate without having to post a bond and without having to get court approval for all distributions.

Beneficiaries – The beneficiaries are the ones who will be receiving property from the estate according to your instructions in your will.

Dependents – Typically referring to children, dependents are those who rely on you as their guardian.

Guardian – You can nominate one or more individuals to serve as a guardian over your dependents if they are left without one.

Attributes

Complexity: 6/10 – Wills can have complicated language, and there are rules that govern the validity and interpretation of a will. A court will not enforce an invalid will, and ambiguous language can have bad results.

Privacy: 2/10 – While you may keep your will private during your lifetime, it will become public record when it is probated.

Control: 6/10 – While you can choose who receives your property, any remaining debt must be paid first.

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