What is a Will?
We are all going to die someday, and that means we all need a will. But what is a will? A will defines what you want to happen after you die. In other words, a will is a legal way to declare your intentions upon death. We call it a will because it’s what you will, or desire to happen. It expresses your will or intent.
“A will is generally defined as an instrument by which a person makes a disposition of his property to take effect at his death, and which by its own nature is ambulatory and revocable during his lifetime.” In re Estate of Brown, 507 S.W.2d 801, 803.
Who can make a will?
Texas does not have strict requirements for who can execute a will. Almost anyone over 18, and some people under 18, can execute a will. Texas has a two-part test for who can make a will. This two-part test is found in Section 251.001 of the Texas Estates Code. Being able to make a will is called having testamentary capacity. First, you must be of “sound mind”. And second, you must be over the age of 18, married, or in the armed forces. You must meet both requirements.
What does “sound mind” mean in Texas?
As we stated earlier you must be considered of sound mind to create a will. Texas has a five part test to determine if someone is of sound mind.
A person of sound mind has the following-
- The ability to understand the business in which she is engaged;
- The ability to understand the effect of his act in making the will;
- The capacity to know what they own (“objects of her bounty”)
- The capacity to understand the general nature and extent of her property
- “memory sufficient to collect in her mind the elements of the business to be transacted, and to hold them long enough to perceive, at least their obvious relation to each other, and to be able to form a reasonable judgment as to them.”
If you are considering updating your will, or perhaps you just never had a will before, we’d be glad to help. The issues that come up without having a will can cause a great deal of stress to your family. We can make the process pretty simple, and if you’d like a free consultation contact on one our probate lawyers today by calling the office. We are offering remote consultations by phone and video.