I need a will. I am married and I have children.
Wills & Estate Planning
This is a simple will to use if you have children and are married. Use the instructions and forms only if:
You are currently married, and
You have children.
Do NOT use these instructions and forms if:
You are not currently married (you are single, widowed, or divorced), OR
You don’t have children.
See the State Law Library’s information on Wills and Directives as well as the research guide on Probate.
You should also review the Texas Young Lawyers Association’s Texas Probate Passport.
Common questions about Wills & Estate Planning
Yes, the Supreme Court of Texas offers a pdf Will form for users to fill out online. The Supreme Court of Texas also encourages the digital completion of your will but allows for wills to be completed by hand.
Note: If you are writing the will by hand, use the same pen to fill in the full will form.
You should not leave any part of your will blank. This means that, if a part of your will form does not apply to your situation, you should cross it out. For example, if you do not have an assumed name (Part 1.1, below your full name), you should cross out this section by writing or typing “XXXXX” over the blank space.
If you need to make a change to your will, you need to make a new will. If you make changes to your will after signing it, those changes are not valid. If you want to make any changes, rip up your will and start over with a new one.
There is a four-year deadline from the date of death to submit a will into probate.
A benefit under a will can potentially make a recipient ineligible for government benefits like SSI, Medicaid, or food stamps (SNAP). Contact a lawyer if you are concerned about affecting a potential beneficiary’s benefits.
Instructions & Forms
Instructions & Forms
The Identification section is intended to identify you and your family. If possible, list the names as they appear on legal documents such as a driver’s license, state ID, birth certificate, or other legal document. The identification section requires you to identify yourself, your spouse, and your children, including any children who have died.
This is also known as the General Bequest or the Residual Estate. This provision in the will acts as a “catch-all” for any property that is not specified in the will. This section ensures that any left-over property not mentioned in the will should pass on to your spouse, children, or a specific individual that you choose.
This section will allow you to give a specific person a particular piece of property. Specific gifts are optional.
Note: if you do not want to give any specific gifts in your situation, you should skip this section by crossing out all of the boxes by, for example, writing or typing “XXXX” through each empty box.
The Specific gifts section features the following parts:
Giving my home,
Giving my personal and household items, and
Giving specific items or property.
You should describe each of the items in detail as best as you can. In each part of this section, you will be able to specify your intended beneficiaries or those you choose to receive the property.
The independent executor is someone you will choose to distribute your money and property after you die. Your named Independent Executor:
Must be 18 years old or older, and
Must not be a convicted felon.
If you use this will form, you can only have one independent executor in charge at a time. The best practice is to name a second and a third executor in the event that your first choice for an executor is unable to serve.
Note: subsections 4.2, 4.3, and 4.4 of this section are required for legal purposes. Do not add, change, or delete anything from these subsections.
This section controls who manages any money or property that you give to a person who is under 21 years of age. Do not add, change, or delete any words from this section.
This section allows you to suggest a guardian to physically care for your children who are either:
Under 18 years of age, or
An incapacitated adult.
Note: the court will consider the child’s best interest when it comes to the appointment of a guardian. See Chapter 1104 of the Texas Estates Code for information on the selection and eligibility requirements to serve as a guardian of the person.
This section designates Texas law as the controlling law for this will and any conflicts that come up regarding this will. Designating Texas law as the controlling law ensures that no conflicting legal principles will void or modify any part of this will.
This section also includes a survivorship clause that states a person will only receive property from your will if they outlive you by at least 30 days.
Do not add, change, or delete any of the words in this section.
Once you have completed the steps above, you will need to sign and validate your will. See the final steps below for information on executing and validating your will.
Now that you have filled out your will, you will need to get two witnesses and a notary together for the signing ceremony.
At the signing ceremony, give the notary the “Notary Public Instructions” on page 20 of the will form, or on page 32 and 33 of the bilingual form.
In order for your will to be valid, ensure that the following processes are completed correctly:
Do not sign until you, the two witnesses, and the notary are all in the same room,
Confirm that both witnesses and the notary are not receiving gifts under your will,
Do not leave the room until everyone has signed, and
Sign in blue ink if possible.
Now that your will is properly signed, you should:
Staple your will and do not take out the staples,
Make as many copies of your will as you want after stapling the original. Do not take out the staples to copy,
Keep your original signed will in a safe place, and
Tell the person you have chosen to be your independent executor that you have a will and where the original will is located.
If your situation changes, do not try to alter your will as those changes will be invalid. To make changes, rip your will up and start over with a new one.
Note: if you have named beneficiaries outside of this will (for example, you have named a beneficiary in a life insurance plan), those beneficiaries will receive those benefits, even if your will names someone different. Make sure to check your accounts, insurance plans, and other beneficiary designations to prevent any issues in the distribution of your property.
Will - Married with ChildrenUse this form to prepare a will if you are married and have children.
Will - Married with Children (Bilingual)Use this form to prepare a will if you are married and have children.
Articles in this guide
Texas Probate Passport: Wills, Estates, Power of Attorney, and ProbateUnderstand laws about what happens to your property after you die.
Self-Proving Wills in TexasThis article explains the concept of self-proving wills.
Do-It-Yourself Guide for Handwritten WillsHandwritten wills can be valid under specific circumstances.