Since we won’t be able to take our possessions with us when we pass away, estate planning and probate is necessary to ensure that our loved ones receive our belongings in accordance with our wishes. In many states, including Texas, a person’s estate can be inherited by their family members or close friends according to the details outlined in the person’s will. Here are some important things you should know when it comes to getting your personal affairs in order.
Some people opt for a durable power of attorney. This is a legal process that gives a specific individual the power to make decisions regarding end-of-life care and medical assistance on behalf of another individual once the individual is incapacitated.
Wills are essential for estate planning and probate. Wills are legally binding and provide information for how the owner of the will wants their property divided when they pass away.
To execute your will in Texas, the person for whom the will is for must be at least 18 and able to make decisions using their full mental capabilities. According to Texas law, the will holder needs two substantial witnesses. If the will is strictly oral, three witnesses are required. Texas also honors holographic wills, which are wills that are written entirely by hand.
Healthcare directives, also known as living wills, are legally binding documents that detail someone’s medical preferences if they become incapacitated. For instance, a living will might state that an individual does not want to be on life support. Under laws that govern living wills in Texas, physicians who don’t want to adhere to a durable power of attorney must try to transfer the patient into another doctor’s care.
It is also important to note that the living will can be revoked at any time regardless of the document owner’s mental state. The revocation must be dated and signed, and the declarant must verbally state their intent to revoke the document. Otherwise, living wills remain in effect until they are actively revoked.