DallasTop 5 problems with Fill-in-the-Blank Wills in Texas
What are some problems caused by fill-in-the blank Texas Wills? Although it may seem like you’re saving time and money by writing your own Last Will and Testament, the convenience may actually cause your family trouble in the long run (and additional probate costs). Here are the top five problems with wills forms in Texas:
1. Increase in Texas Probate Costs
Texas has a relatively simple probate process. Since form Wills are generically written to cover residents in all states, the forms are overly broad. This means specific Texas wording isn’t followed. Not following specific wording can cause misunderstandings or take longer for a probate court to determine what the Will is trying to accomplish. These issues can require hiring a Texas probate attorney and paying more in probate attorney fees.
2. Additional Estate Planning Documents Are Needed
Usually, a fill-in-the blank Last Will is not sufficient. Proper estate planning involves more than just signing a Last Will and Testament. A Will lets others know what to do with your belongings; but what if you need medical assistance or help with financial transactions during your lifetime? Other documents, like a Texas power of attorney and HIPAA Release, allow you to plan for a time in your life in which you may need help. If you don’t have these documents in place, Texas has laws to designate someone to make those decisions for you. You might not agree with the decisions others make for you, and that process can cost more.
3. Errors in the Last Will and Testament
The wording used in the wills forms can be confusing. Some of the legal language used in Texas estate planning documents is legal jargon that you don’t use every day. Misunderstanding terms and what certain legal phrases accomplish can cause errors in the Last Will and Testament. For example, you might intend to leave property to a beneficiary and end up leaving that beneficiary less than you intended, or nothing at all. Having a Texas wills attorney look over the Will can help ensure that you accomplish what you intend.
4. Problems with the Execution of the Last Will and Testament
Will-Signers need to follow certain formalities for a valid Texas Last Will and Testament. In fact, the Texas Estates Code and the Texas probate courts are somewhat strict about the required Wills formalities. Doing your own Will by filling in blanks opens you up to the possibility of not following proper Texas formalities, such as having the Will properly witnessed. The witnesses must sign in the presence of the Will-Signer. So, although you might think you completed a Will and have everything in order, problems can arise once someone tries to probate the Will after your death. Will you find out about the errors? Probably not, becuase by the time the problems surface it will be too late for you to fix.
5. Texas Probate Courts Have Found Some Fill-in-the-Blanks Wills Invalid
Even if part the form is in your own handwriting, parts of the form are preprinted. In Texas, if the Will-Signer intends for a document to be a valid Handwritten Will (“Holographic Will”), it may be valid even though parts of it aren’t in the Will-Signer’s handwriting so long as the preprinted words aren’t necessary to complete the Will and don’t affect the meaning of the Will. In other words, only the handwritten parts of the Last Will could be used. And, if we have to ignore all the preprinted words on the fill-in-the blank Will, the document may cease to make any logical sense.
To ask a legal question or get legal help from Texas wills and Texas probate lawyer Isaac Shutt, use the online contact form to the right or call (214) 302-8197. If you prefer to meet at the office in person, the attorneys will gladly offer a free consultation.
Visit www.ShuttLawFirm.com for more information on Texas Fill-in-the-Blank Wills, Texas Probate, Probate Cost in Texas, or Texas Last Wills, contact Richardson Probate Attorneys Isaac Shutt and Peter Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shutt Law Firm’s office is conveniently located just north of Dallas, Texas, and just South of Plano. The law office is near the intersection of highway 75 and Campbell Road in Richardson, TX.
You can also call Mr. Shutt at (214) 302-8197 for more information on the topic discussed in this article or to discuss a different legal matter. For existing clients, quick phone-calls and brief e-mails are always free at Shutt Law Firm PLLC.
Please consider the Shutt Law Firm if you want to know how much a Texas probate costs, more about a Texas Last Will and Testament, or you need Dallas Probate Attorneys serving Richardson, Plano, Allen, McKinney, Garland, Addison, Rockwall, TX, Collin County, Dallas County, or surrounding North Texas area.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this brief article constitutes legal advice. The information provided herein is merely provided in the spirit of education and is believed to be accurate as of the time it was originally prepared, and laws change. If you have a legal question, you should consult a lawyer for your specific legal situation. Further, nothing in this article shall be construed to have started an attorney-client relationship. No such relationship exists until both you and and an attorney at Shutt Law Firm sign an engagement letter.