TEXAS -- It’s not a topic anyone enjoys thinking about or discussing. That said, an attorney Spectrum News spoke with said having a will and testament prepared is extremely important, espeically now. Some best-case projections estimate between 100,000 and 200,000 Americans could die as a result of COVID-19.
- Attorneys say it's best to have a will prepared amid coronavirus pandemic
- Online and other options available
- Texas law requires a minimum of 2 witnesses
The chief concern is that if you were to become incapacitated or subject to quarantine as a result of the virus, preparing a will could get very complicated. In order for it to be deemed legal, the testator, or person for whom the will is created, must be of sound mind.
You could go the traditional route and contact an attorney in order to prepare a will. Many law offices are currently closed, however, and it’s best to contact them in order to weigh your options.
Another option is an online service such as LegalZoom, which requires a flat fee. According to its website, the cost begins at $89.
If you’d rather not go the online route, there are a number of low-cost legal services available in Texas.
If you were to die without a will, you would have no say in who receives your property. It would be up to the discretion of the state. Depending on state law, about half of your assets would go to a surviving spouse if there is one, and the remainder would go to children, parents, or close relatives. If none of these people can be located, the state will take your assets.
There is also the option of choosing a living trust over a will. The process is more time-consuming, but it avoids a probate proceeding.
In Texas, you do not need to have your will notarized. You will, however, need two witnesses, and they will need to sign it. An oral will, which is legal in Texas, requires three witnesses. Texas law also recognizes holographic wills, which are simply handwritten wills.
Bear in mind that this is just an overview and if possible, it is best to consult with an attorney prior to creating a will. For additional information on Texas wills law, click here.