Texas law states that a person reaches the age of majority, or adulthood, and can legally execute his or her own last will and testament at age 18. Of course, there are exceptions which allow a minor to make a will before the age of 18, such as when the minor is married or a member of the U.S. armed forces. The rationale is that until reaching adulthood, a minor is unable to hold legal title to property, except in very limited circumstances. A minor who cannot own property does not need a will.
Nonetheless, a person as young as 16 can petition a court to “remove the disabilities of non-age” in a process known as emancipation. Unless specifically restricted by statute otherwise, a minor who has been emancipated can enter into contracts, hold legal title to property and engage in other activities usually reserved for adults.
Why would a young person need a will?
As estate planning and probate attorneys, we have seen those unexpected situations where the estate of a seemingly healthy young adult had to be distributed through protracted probate litigation proceedings. If the deceased person had left a will, the process could have been much easier – and perhaps more fair – for the surviving friends and family members.
What is your legacy?
It’s also important to plan ahead, even if you don’t own much today. In some Texas families, property legacies are passed from one generation to the next, or even to the next through generation-skipping transfers, a fairly common estate planning tool. Depending on how family trusts are structured, a young person can suddenly own significant assets in early adulthood.
Choose to be prepared
The size of the estate, however, really shouldn’t be your primary consideration in deciding whether to make a will. Instead, the most important factor is how you want your assets to be distributed. If you care where your property goes after your death and you want to have a voice in how your assets are disbursed, make your wishes known by executing a last will and testament as soon as you are legally able to do so.
Call for estate planning and will making advice
Peterson Law Group provides comprehensive estate planning services to clients throughout the Bryan-College Station, Texas area and beyond. We provide the information and assistance you need to plan ahead for your loved ones’ future. Call Peterson Law Group at 979-703-7014 to make an appointment, or fill out our online contact form to arrange a meeting.