I don't own a lot of property, but I want a will the few items I do own. Does Texas required a Will be notarized to be legal? I know it is best to get it notarized, but it is not always easy to get three people in one place at the same time.
Also, can a relative be a witness if they are not mentioned or part of my will as a beneficiary? Same question with a Living Will. Can anyone that is NOT the executor or representative witness my signature?
Wills and Living Wills Lawyer
In Texas, a Will must be witnessed by two credible witnesses above the age of fourteen (14). No notary is required. Generally, it is recommended that the witnesses to the Will be “disinterested”, which means that they are not a beneficiary of the Will. In Texas the signing of a Will by an interested witness does not invalidate the Will, but if an interested witness is one of only two witnesses any gift to the witness is void. An exception is if the witness would be a beneficiary under intestacy, then the witness may take the gift up to the value of their intestate share.
As to the Living Will, here is a website that would be helpful where you can create your own Texas health care documents. https://www.texaslivingwill.org/
The Texas form called a Directive to Physicians to Discontinue Life Support is a statutory document. It cannot be altered. So, it is difficult to mess it up by doing it yourself. I get the feeling you are going to try to draft your own Will. To be valid in Texas as a Will the instrument needs to meet other criteria besides the witnesses. It is literally how the document is signed and witnessed that make it valid or invalid. It also must contain evidence of testamentary intent. For example an instrument that says "I want my son to have my car" does not demonstrate "testamentary intent" because it doesn't say "When I die" or "Upon my death". You are going to mess up trying to draft a Will yourself. That will cost your heirs money.
DISCLAIMER: This is not specific legal advice and does not establish an attorney/client relationship.
Estate Planning Attorney
It sounds like you are treating this as a do it yourself project. If you fail to draft your will properly or fail to execute it properly, it will not be acceptable to the probate court. That means that your property would be distributed by intestacy laws in Texas. A simple will is not terribly costly to have an attorney draft. It will save your heirs more time and money then it will cost you today. It is well worth the expense. That being said, your will, in Texas, does not require a notary. It requires two proper witnesses.
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