How important is it to get your last will and testament written by a Texas wills attorney?
Yes, Texas does recognize handwritten wills. Yes, you can probably find a free last will and testament form in a book. Question is: Should you? Consider the following Five Reasons To Get Professional Help Writing Your Will. This article recently appeared online at Forbes (hat tip to Professor Beyer’s Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog).
According to Forbes, here are five good reasons to have a Texas wills attorney draft your Will:
1 – Attorneys are cheaper than you think for drafting wills. The article suggests that you can get a top-notch Last Will and Testament drafted by an estate planning lawyer for as little as $1,000. Hogwash. My law firm charges a mere $250 for a top-notch, custom-drafted Last Will and Testament. For that money you get two meetings with your estate planning attorney, a will written just for you by said Texas wills attorney, and you get to ask all the questions you want (all of this included in the flat-rate fee). That’s not much money for a LOT of peace of mind from an attorney.
2 – Your Last Will must be error-free. There are a lot of legal details, subtleties, and important clauses that go into a well-drafted Texas will. Texas probate courts are strict about not accepting wills that do not meet the legal requirement under the Texas Estates Code.
If you use a free online form for wills in Texas, how will you know if everything was done correctly? That was a trick question; You probably won’t. Only your family will know if your Texas will is invalid after you pass away.
3 – A DIY Texas Will may have too much vague language. If you have a homemade Texas Will (a “DIY” Texas Last Will), your will may have wording that’s too vague and/or confusing. Remember, the whole idea of having a Will is to make things easier for people to handle your affairs after you’re gone. A DIY Last will with vague language can be confusing and even misinterpreted.
4 – Your assumptions about Wills are probably wrong. According to the Forbes expert, many people have assumptions about wills that are incorrect. Attorneys have at least three years in training learning the law to help clients. Despite what you read on the internet, Texas wills are not as straightforward as you might think. Do you know what happens if you outlive your heirs? If you give your house to an heir, who gets stuck with the mortgage? Did you know it’s a mess when one of your heirs is under age 18? How do you plan for that? What about estate tax or inheritance tax?
5 – A handwritten will is valid in Texas, if done correctly. What qualifies as a valid will varies from state to state. Texas does recognize handwritten wills (the Texas Estates Code calls them “holographic wills”), and the requirements are pretty loose. See the Texas Estates Code § 251 and § 256 for more info on Texas handwritten wills. However, even if your handwritten Texas Will is legally valid, chances are slim that it does everything you’d like it to do. Writing a will is not rocket science, but it’s extremely important to do correctly–and you can be assured that it was done correctly by paying just a little bit of money (in my law office’s case, a flat fee of $250) to a trained Texas attorney.
The Richardson lawyer at Shutt Law Firm, PLLC, Isaac Shutt, is a Texas estate planning attorney and elder law attorney. Shutt Law Firm can assist you with a simple Texas will, answering questions about fees for a last will in Texas, Texas living trusts, testamentary trusts, or other Texas estate planning goals.
Visit www.ShuttLawFirm.com for more information on Texas trusts, estate planning, probate, probate alternatives, and guardianship or email email@example.com. You can also call Mr. Shutt at (214) 302-8197 for more information on the topic discussed in this blog or to discuss a different legal matter. Phone-calls and quick e-mails are always free at Shutt Law Firm PLLC. Please consider the Shutt Law Firm if you’re looking for a Richardson lawyer for probate, Texas wills attorney, estate planning attorney in Richardson, power of attorney in Richarson, or Texas guardianship attorney. The Texas law firm serves Dallas, Plano, Richardson, Frisco, Addison, McKinney, Lucas, Parker, Dallas County, and Collin County.