Preserving Families

And Protecting Assets

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Understanding different types of wills

Texas law addresses matters concerning distribution of assets after a person dies. There are numerous types of documents that may be relevant to a particular person’s beneficiaries. The estate planning process often includes the signing of a will, although there are multiple kinds of wills and a system in place whereby the court can determine if a particular document is valid.

In certain circumstances, a person might challenge a will, perhaps claiming that he or she was wrongfully omitted or that there is evidence that the testator (person who signed the document) was under duress at the time. Understanding the different types of wills, as well as state laws that govern how to lawfully execute one, helps both testators and beneficiaries avoid legal problems when the time comes to administer an estate.

A testamentary will is usually signed in the presence of an attorney

A testamentary will is one of the most commonly incorporated documents in an estate plan. A testator executing this type of will typically does so under guidance and assistance from an experienced attorney. The attorney can help ensure that the formal document is in accordance with state laws.

Additional types of wills

If a person writes and signs a will with no witnesses, it is a holographic will. In many states, this type of will is not valid. Another type of will that may be deemed invalid is an oral will, which is spoken in the presence of witnesses rather than written and notarized. There are some exceptions where holographic or oral wills may be accepted by law. It is always best to seek clarification of Texas estate planning laws before executing a will and to ask an experienced attorney to periodically review an existing plan to determine if there is a need for any changes or updates.