Estate planning in Texas: what you need to know

1 min read by Unbiased team Last updated June 28, 2024

Find out how to implement effective estate planning in Texas and what you need in order to protect your heirs and assets after death.


  • Estate planning in Texas costs between $1,500 and $7,000 or more, depending on the value of your estate.  

  • You only need to pay Texas estate tax if your estate is valued above $13.61 million. 

  • Estate planning is a crucial step in ensuring that you are financially prepared for the future and for those left behind.  

  • Unbiased can connect you to a fiduciary financial advisor who can help you manage your estate and effectively plan for the future.  

How much does estate planning cost in Texas? 

The cost of estate planning in Texas depends on whether you’d like to do it yourself online or hire an estate planner or attorney to do it for you.  

The DIY method of estate planning can be as low as $100, but it entails drafting and writing all the necessary documents yourself and can be challenging to navigate. If you leave out any important details, it could lead to complications and penalties for your heirs to deal with after your passing.  

Opting for a professional to handle your estate planning costs between $1,500 and $7,000 (or more, depending on the size of your estate). However, getting professional help comes with the significant advantage of knowing your affairs are being handled by a seasoned expert.   

The cost of estate planning in Texas is considered relatively expensive compared to other states. Texas has a large financial services industry, broadening the market for estate planning.  

How does Texas estate tax work? 

Unlike many other states, Texas does not impose an estate tax.  

However, while there is no Texas estate tax, there is still federal tax to consider.  

The estate federal tax threshold is $13.61 million. So, if your estate is worth that sum or higher, you will need to pay between 18% and 40% federal estate tax.  

If your estate’s value falls below the threshold, you will not be required to pay federal tax.  

How does estate planning for blended families work in Texas? 

Wills are crucial for any estate planning process, but they are especially crucial for estate planning for blended families.  

If you have a blended family, you will need to set up specific guardianship designations and spousal provisions to ensure that your assets are distributed as per your wishes. Without clear instructions, your assets will not be automatically transferred to stepchildren.  

How does tax planning for single parents work in Texas? 

Taxes are an important aspect of estate planning for single parents in Texas.  

Similarly to estate planning for blended families, single parents need to exercise extreme specificity in their wills in order to avoid guardianship complications and unwarranted taxes for heirs.  

How does tax planning for married couples work in Texas? 

Under Texas estate law, estate planning for married couples is clear-cut.  

The law states that surviving spouses receive a designated sum of the deceased’s estate upon their passing. The sum is typically half, but it depends on the will in question.  

This is to ensure that the surviving spouse is taken care of in their deceased partner’s absence.  

How does probate work in Texas? 

Texas probate is considered relatively simple in comparison to other states. That being said, it is still important to avoid complications that could result in unnecessary expenses and hassle for your family once you are gone.  

Probate is only necessary in Texas if your estate is worth more than $75,000. This is true regardless of whether the deceased has a will. The typical timeline for filing probate in Texas is 9 to 12 months. Any longer, and the executor risks a penalty.  

What are the final arrangements and organ donation laws in Texas? 

Texas law states that your final arrangements, such as burial or cremation, should be outlined in your will. If they are not, the decision becomes the deceased’s family’s responsibility.  

Permission to scatter ashes in certain areas must be obtained before the ritual commences.  

If you are a registered organ donor, your wishes will be respected upon your death. The best way to ensure this happens is to include organ donation in your medical power of attorney papers.  

Your estate planning checklist for Texas  

Estate planning in Texas can be a lengthy and complex process. However, it is crucial to manage and distribute your assets successfully after death.  

Here is our estate planning checklist for Texas estate owners: 

  • Last will and testament 

Your last will and testament is the most important document to include in your estate plan, regardless of where you live.  

For a smooth estate planning process, clearly name each of your heirs and beneficiaries, as well as your final arrangement wishes and power of attorney.  

  • Healthcare documentation 

Healthcare documentation involves physician directives, HIPAA authorization, and organ donor information, if applicable. If you are incapacitated before your passing, the right healthcare documentation will communicate your final wishes and care preferences.  

  • Trusts 

The two most popular types of trusts in Texas are revocable and irrevocable trusts.  

Revocable trusts are trusts that allow for adjustments to be made by named beneficiaries and heirs.  

Irrevocable trusts cannot be altered after the creator’s death unless numerous named heirs all sign an agreement stipulating what the changes will be.  

  • Power of attorney 

Power of attorney should be appointed to a trusted legal professional prior to your death. They will handle all of your affairs and asset distribution on your behalf. 

  • Pre-need guardian 

Pre-need guardianship grants someone other than yourself the power to make decisions on your behalf if you ever become incapacitated. In Texas, the guardian is responsible for providing supervision, care, and managing the medical and financial affairs of their ward.  

Get expert financial advice 

Estate planning in Texas can provide tax advantages for some and is a smooth and simple process with the right checklist and documentation.  

Working with a financial advisor from Unbiased can help you prepare for estate planning in Texas. Get matched with an expert financial advisor to secure your estate and beneficiaries in the future.  


Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.