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Wills and Other Documents

  • Wills                                                            

  • Trusts

  • Living Wills (Physician Directive

  • Statutory Durable Power of Attorney

  • Body/Organ Donation

  • Medical Power of Attorney

  • HIPPA Release

  • Guardianship in the event of  Incapacity

  • Disposition of Remains

  • Transfer on Death Deed

Will: The legal expression of an individual’s wishes about the disposition of his or her property after death; esp., a document by which a person directs his or her estate to be distributed upon death. 

[Texas Estates Code Section 251.051 sets out requirements for a Will.]  Basically it has to be in writing, Signed by person making the Will (Testator), and witnessed by two disinterested witnesses over the age o 14 who subscribe their names to the  Will in their own handwriting and in the presence of the Testator.

NOTE:  The Will should also include a Self Proving Affidavit.  The requirements for this can be found in the Texas Estates Code Section 251.104.

Holographic Will: An instrument written WHOLLY in the Testators (the person making the Will) HANDWRITING.  It does not require that it be attested to by any witnesses.  Holographic wills are addressed in the Texas Estates Code Section 251.052.

NOTE:  A Holographic will needs to be testamentary in character.  It needs to show testamentary intent. It needs to have a signature or mark on it from the maker. 

ATTENTION:  Holographic Wills, though recognized for Probate actions, should be used with caution.  A Holographic Will will have to have witnesses that can attest to the makers signature and handwriting when probated.  If  it is challenged a Court will have the discretion to determine the intent of the document.  It a Court finds the intention of the document was not to be a Will, then it may be everything (all the property) will pass by Intestate Succession (goes to the Heirs).

Trusts:  An instrument created to take the property interest of held by one person (the trustee) at the request of another (the settlor) for the benefit of a third party (the beneficiary). {You give the property to a named trust which has a named trustee to take care of and administer the property and its distribution} (You can name yourself as the trustee)

Living Will (Physicians Directive): Physician Directives are sometimes called “living wills.” The Directive tells the doctor whether a person wants life-sustaining procedures withheld or stopped in the event there is a terminal or irreversible condition. The person can specify in the Directive that they want life-sustaining procedures continued even if the person has a terminal or irreversible condition.

Statutory Durable Power of Attorney:  A Durable Power of Attorney allows a person to appoint someone to make financial decisions for them if they are unable or do not want to make those decisions for themselves. If a person becomes incapacitated, the person named as the “Attorney in Fact” (The person named in the Durable Power of Attorney) can take care of financial matters for them. The power of attorney may be general or limited. A general power of attorney will allow the "Attorney in Fact" to do anything financial on their behalf. This authority should be only given to someone whom could be trusted with everything the person making the Durable Power of Attorney owns. A limited power of attorney can be limited to certain transactions. It is usually used for selling a house.

Body/Organ Donation: A Body/Donation Form allows a person to specify what they want to donate and for what purposes. (Some Organizations have specific criteria for acceptance of this type of donation so you need to research what the criteria is if you are planning to donate.)  {NOTE:  If you are choosing to use this method be sure you understand that the organization may reject your donation so you need to have alternative arrangements in place}.

Medical Power of Attorney: A Healthcare Power of Attorney or Medical Power of Attorney allows a person to appoint someone to make medical decisions for them if they become too ill or incompetent to make decisions on their own.

HIPPA Release: (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that was passed by Congress in 1996.) A HIPPA Release is a document that allows a person to name individuals who will be given access to their private medical information.

Guardianship in the Event of Incapacity: A Declaration of Guardian allows a person to specify who will act as guardian of their estate and/or person in the event they become incompetent. A person can also specify who they do not want to become guardian under any circumstances. Guardian of the Estate manages your assets and Guardian of the Person makes medical decisions and other decisions that do not involve finances.

Disposition of Remains: This form allows a person to designate who will be in charge of taking care of their body after death. {The Texas Health and Safety Code Section 711.002 list the priority of people who control disposition and are liable for the reasonable cost of interment}.

Transfer on Death Deed: An instrument which a person can pass title to real property (land, home) where the title passes immediately at the time of death.  (You name who gets the property).  {The instrument is filed as is any other deed for property in the County where the property is located.}


NOTE: Every situation is different, and regardless of any alternatives you may choose, you still should have a will to cover anything that is forgotten or left out, so:

get your will on






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