National Estate Planning Awareness Week: Creating a Will

October 19, 2020


October 19th through the 25th is National Estate Planning Awareness Week! Do you have a plan in place to take care of your estate and your loved ones at the end of your life? If not, the library has a lot of resources that can help you create a will, learn how guardianship works, create powers of attorney, and research other aspects of estate planning. Today we will look at several resources for creating a simple will.

Creating a Will

We're often asked by patrons if we can provide them with a form or template for a "simple will". Unfortunately, there is no standardized form for a simple Texas will that we're aware of, but we do have a number of e-books that have several good options for creating your own will from scratch. Please note that our electronic resources (e-books and databases) will require a current library account for access, which you can register for here if you are in Texas. We also link to a number of helpful resources available online on our research guide to Wills & Estates

Nolo's Quick & Legal Will Book

Written with the general public in mind, this title from Nolo is a great starting point for our patrons looking for a basic introduction to creating their own will. Included in this book is a simple form for a Texas self-proving affidavit, an "all-purpose will", and forms for several different family structures (married with children, single, divorced, or widowed with no children, etc.). 

Texas Estate Planning (James Publishing)

This e-book is aimed at attorneys, but could easily be useful to a layperson interested in creating their own will. Chapter 10 covers wills generally, including basic requirements, revocations, executions, common provisions, and bequests to minors. Chapters 11-12 cover simple wills for single people or married couples. Each of these chapters has corresponding sample forms that can be downloaded, and several chapters also include flowcharts that can help you make sense of the process. 

Texas Small-Firm Practice Tools

At first glance, this e-book doesn't seem like it would have much in the way of estate planning. However, Texas Small-Firm Practice Tools has an entire chapter (Chapter 11) dedicated to estate planning, including wills. You can also find several forms for creating your own will, including 11:60 Will, 11:80 Will with Trust, and 11:100 Will, with Trust and Marital Trust

Your Texas Wills, Trusts, and Estates Explained Simply: Important Information You Need To Know for Texas Residents

Tailored specifically for Texas residents, this e-book does a great job of covering the basics. Chapter 5 is dedicated entirely to wills and includes helpful definitions of legal terms related to wills and estates (like "fiduciary powers clause") as well as tips for creating your own will. This particular book doesn't contain any sample forms but might be a useful resource for anyone looking to understand the process. 

Texas Estate Planning (Bender's Texas estate & trust series)

Easily the most thorough and detailed resource available on estate planning at the State Law Library, this legal practice guide is the gold standard for anyone interested in a full overview of Texas estate planning law. Wills are covered in detail in Part 2 (Chapters 10-16), and sample forms can be found in Chapter 100. 

Stay tuned for Wednesday's post on guardianships, and as always, please feel free to use our Ask a Librarian program for any questions you may have about the library's resources on estate planning. 

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