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What steps are necessary when drafting a will?

It is likely residents in Texas and elsewhere has heard of a will, but they may wonder what they do, how to make one, what happens without one and if there are different options for wills. Generally speaking, wills are legally binding documents that outline who will inherit property. They are the best option for the estate planner or party executing a will, to state their wishes for how their property should be divided. Another term for the party executing a will is the testator.

Parties that may inherit items listed in a will commonly include spouses, children, grandchildren, charitable organizations or other friends and family. When the estate planner does not have a will, state laws govern how their property is divided. The property will commonly be distributed to a surviving spouse and children, depending on the laws in the state. Other close relatives may also inherit. The only way for the estate planner to ensure their property is divided how they intend for it to be divided is to have a well and an effective estate plan.

A valid will has a number of important requirements, including the age and condition of the testator, as well as witnesses and additional requirements as well. In Texas, the testator may also have a holographic will or written will, but holographic wills must also meet certain important requirements to be considered valid. A valid will provides important peace of mind for the estate planner and the estate planner's family so it is helpful to be familiar with all of the requirements of a valid will and ensure they are satisfied.

Additionally, it is important to maintain an estate plan and update a will, especially following any major life changes. There are many components that are part of an effective estate plan so it is beneficial for estate planners to be aware of the estate planning tools, such as wills, that can help ensure their wishes are achieved.

Source: Estate.findlaw.com, "Making a Will FAQs," Accessed May 1, 2017

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