Creating a will is an important part of any estate plan. However, the type of will that a person uses can depend on a number of factors. For example, a simple will may work for one person, but another individual may need a joint will or could possibly even use a holographic or oral will.
Simple wills are commonly used and can help Texas residents indicate who they want to handle their final affairs, who they want to act as guardians of their children and who should receive their final assets. On the other hand, some married couples may choose to create a joint will so that their shared estate is addressed in one document. This can be useful in ensuring that the surviving spouse receives the entirety of the remaining estate.
Holographic wills and oral wills are less conventional ways of making one’s wishes known. In some states, they may not be recognized as valid under the law. A holographic will is a handwritten document and only needs the signature of the person creating it and is similar to a simple will. An oral will could also be questioned in court as it does not involve the person creating a formal document, only speaking his or her wishes aloud in front of witnesses. While holographic wills that are wholly in the handwriting of the testator and signed by him or her are valid in Texas, since Sept. 1, 2007 oral wills have not been recognized in the state.
Using a simple will can certainly help Texas residents get their wishes across, but it is useful to understand the different planning options. It is also necessary to ensure that the chosen options will be considered valid under state law. No one wants to think that he or she created an estate plan only to have the court rule it invalid and, therefore, useless to the surviving family.