The process of creating Wills is largely similar from state to state, but there are some regulatory complexities and nuances to be aware of. Thanks to technology, the process is becoming easier and more accessible. If you plan to make an online Will in Texas, make sure to satisfy the specific requirements set forth by state law in order for your Will to be valid. By doing so, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your loved ones are protected, and that important matters won’t be left up to chance. This guide provides an overview of what you need to know about making a Will online in the Lone Star State.
What You Need to Know About Making a Will Online in Texas
The process of creating a valid Will in Texas is determined by state statutes. The laws regarding the execution of a Will can be found in the Texas Estates Code.
An online Will can be valid in Texas so long as the above legal requirements are satisfied. Trust & Will breaks down these legal requirements over the next several sections by answering some frequently asked questions on the topic.
How Much Does a Will Cost in Texas?
A simple or basic Will in Texas can cost anywhere from $250 to over $2,500. These are estimates that vary depending on three key factors: the method of execution, complexity of the estate, and attorney fees (should you choose to work with one.)
For instance, an individual with a particularly robust or complex estate plan with many special provisions may hire one of the most experienced estate planning attorneys in the state. This person’s estate planning costs will likely be in the higher range. The cost may even rise to several thousand dollars if they plan to establish a Trust.
However, many people have a relatively simple estate with straightforward objectives. Trust & Will’s online estate planning platform provides an affordable alternative that won’t break your bank. You can create your state-specific online Will through our platform at a fraction of the cost.
Are Online Wills Valid in Texas?
Yes, online Wills are legal in Texas, so long as you satisfy the legal requirements of executing a valid Will:
You must be at least 18 years of age or lawfully married, a member of the U.S. armed forces, or are a Merchant Marine.
You must sign the Will in front of two competent witnesses (at least 14 years of age)
Your witnesses must sign the Will in your presence
The Will must be in writing
To create a legally valid Will in Texas, you can use a comprehensive estate planning platform such as Trust & Will, which will guide you through easy prompts and steps. After the Will is created online, it must be printed out. The Lone Star State does not recognize digital-only Wills at this time, although this could change in the future. We will discuss this more in a following section that goes over the requirements for online Wills in Texas.
Is It Legal to Write Your Own Will in Texas?
Yes, you can write your own Will in Texas. Handwritten (holographic) Wills are legal and are better than having no Will at all. However, writing your Will on your own may leave you vulnerable to errors and pitfalls that could render your wishes legally unenforceable.
Instead, we highly recommend obtaining professional estate planning support. Some individuals choose not to work with an attorney for specific reasons, such as wanting to keep their private information to themselves, or finding attorney fees cost-prohibitive.
Whatever the reason may be, an alternative solution to consider is creating a Will using a trustworthy platform. For example, Trust & Will’s estate planning platform offers state-specific estate plans so you can have peace of mind knowing that your Will is compliant in Texas and will achieve your desired outcomes. We also offer bank-level security to protect your private information.
What is Required for a Will to Be Legal in Texas?
In order for an online Will to be valid in Texas, it must satisfy the following requirements:
The Will must be in writing
The Testator (the person writing the Will) must be at least 18 years old and be of sound mind. (Exceptions: a minor who is married, is a member of the U.S. armed forces, or is a Merchant Marine.)
The Testator must sign the Will in front of two witnesses.
After they see the Testator sign the Will, the witnesses must also sign the Will.
The Will must be printed on paper. While several states allow digital Wills, Texas does not currently recognize digital-only Wills. However, Lone Star State residents can still take advantage of technology. For instance, you can create your Will online through Trust & Will’s estate planning platform. Once the process is complete, your estate planning portfolio will be mailed to you so that you can complete the steps of signing and executing your documents at your convenience.
How Do I Sign an Online Will in Texas?
Here are the steps to follow for signing and finalizing your online Will in Texas:
Print out your Will
Ask your two witnesses to watch you sign your Will
Watch your two witnesses sign your Will shortly thereafter
(Optional): Sign your Will or sworn statements before a notary public to make it self-proving
Here are some special considerations to note:
In the case of divorce, Texas law automatically revokes any provisions that leave property to your ex-spouse.
Similarly, Texas voids your ex-spouse if named Executor in case of divorce.
The above rules also apply to any relatives, who are not your relatives, of your ex-spouse.
While you may sign and execute your Will at a single point in time, the above considerations highlight a special circumstance one may encounter. Luckily, maintaining an online Will through a platform like Trust & Will can make revising and updating your existing Will a more seamless experience. We will mail you your documents once you are satisfied so that you can proceed with the signing, witnessing, and execution of your Will.
Can I File a Will Without an Attorney in Texas?
Yes, you can file a Will without an attorney in Texas. Generally speaking, Lone Star State laws do not require you to hire a lawyer to create or execute a valid Will. However, you may want to consult an estate planning professional for advice if you have a large estate or special conditions that you wish to meet.
Do Texas Wills Need to be Notarized?
No, a Will does not have to be notarized in order for it to be legally valid in Texas. However, it is an optional action step that you can take if you wish for your Will to be self-proving.
To do so, you and your witnesses must go to a notary public. After confirming your identities, you will make sworn statements and sign an affidavit. The affidavit is notarized and attached to the Will. This essentially proves that the notary knows who you are and confirms that each person was aware that they were signing the Will.
If your Will is presented to the probate court, then they must validate it. If the Will is already self-proved, then the court won’t have to call upon the witnesses to testify regarding the Will’s validity. This can help minimize potential issues and allow the probate process to proceed more quickly.
Who Can Witness a Will in Texas?
A Texan Will must be signed by two competent witnesses, both of whom must be at least 14 years old.
However, a Testator should be careful not to select a beneficiary (an interested party) as a witness. While an interested witness won’t automatically invalidate a Will, this could create a conflict of interest. It is generally advised to select a disinterested party to witness your Will to avoid any challenges.
How to Create Texas Last Will and Testament Online
The Lone Star State does not currently recognize digital-only Wills, although this could change in the future. In the meantime, you can still take advantage of technology by creating your Last Will and Testament online, so long as you print it out for signing and filing. This is a convenient, effective, and affordable alternative to writing your own Will or hiring an attorney to draft one for you.
With this in mind, here is an overview of the steps of creating an online Will in Texas:
Select a trusted online estate planning platform, service, or template.
Draft your Will
Review and finalize your Will
Print out your Will
Sign the Will
Obtain signatures from two competent witnesses
Optional: get your Will notarized if you want it to be self-proving
Upload the Will to a secure storage space online, such as a digital vault
Store the hard copy in a secure physical space, such as a safe
Review and revise your Will regularly
What Can I Include in an Online Will in Texas?
The contents of a Last Will and Testament vary widely based on an individual’s personal circumstances, as well as the objectives they wish to achieve. Trust & Will will guide you through a series of questions and prompts to help you create your Will.
Here are some ideas on what can be included in your online Will:
An inventory of your property and assets
A list of your Beneficiaries
Gifts made to specific individuals or organizations
Your nominated Executor who should handle your estate
A Guardian for any minor or dependent children (or pets)
A named individual to manage property for dependent children
Last wishes regarding your remains, funeral, burial, cremation, etc.
Any final instructions or notes for loved ones
Create Your Online Will in Texas Today
Can you create an online Will in Texas? The answer is “yes”! While electronic Wills may not be recognized yet, Lone Star State residents can still take advantage of the convenience technology has to offer by creating their Wills online. It’s a convenient and affordable alternative to working with an attorney, no matter your location. The key to successfully creating an online Will in Texas is making sure that you satisfy state-specific requirements.
This guide provided an overview of the online Will requirements in the Lone Sta State that you should be aware of.
At Trust & Will, we’re here to help keep things simple. You can create a fully customizable, state-specific estate plan from the comfort of your own home in just 20 minutes. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning and settlement options today!
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Trust & Will is an online service providing legal forms and information. We are not a law firm and we do not provide legal advice.