There Are A Few Problems with Handwritten Wills in Texas

While it may seem tempting to draft your own will or rely on handwritten documents, such as the case of Aretha Franklin, it is highly recommended to hire an estate planning attorney to avoid potential legal battles and complications. Estate planning is a critical process that ensures the distribution of assets and properties according to your wishes after your demise. It involves making important decisions regarding (1) who will inherit your assets, (2) how they will be divided, and (3) who will handle your affairs.

In this article, we will explore the importance of hiring an estate planning attorney and how they can help you navigate the complexities of estate planning, ultimately safeguarding your legacy and protecting your loved ones.

Why You Should Hire an Estate Planning Attorney to Avoid Legal Battles Like Aretha Franklin’s Legal Battles Over Her Handwritten Wills:

Estate planning is not a task that should be taken lightly, as it involves intricate legal procedures and potential pitfalls. Here are several reasons why hiring an estate planning attorney is crucial to avoid legal battles similar to those faced by Aretha Franklin’s Estate.  Her Estate has been involved in litigation for years due to her handwritten wills. 

Had Aretha Franklin hired an estate planning attorney create her will, it’s much more likely her Estate wouldn’t be involved in such a legal mess. 


Here’s why:

Expertise in Estate Planning Laws and Regulations

Estate planning attorneys are well-versed in the laws and regulations surrounding wills, trusts, and probate. They stay up-to-date with the latest legal developments, ensuring that your estate plan complies with all the necessary requirements. By hiring an experienced estate planning law firm, you can minimize the risk of your last will and testament being deemed invalid or subject to legal disputes.

Personalized and Tailored Approach

Each individual’s estate planning needs are unique, and a one-size-fits-all approach may not suffice. Estate planning attorneys work closely with you to understand your specific circumstances, goals, and concerns. They then create a personalized estate plan that addresses your wishes comprehensively, reducing the likelihood of ambiguities or loopholes that could lead to legal battles.

Mitigating the Risks of Handwritten Wills

Aretha Franklin’s case highlights the potential complications that can arise from handwritten wills. Handwritten wills, also known as holographic wills, can be subject to interpretation and challenges in court. Hiring an estate planning attorney ensures that your will is properly drafted, executed, and witnessed according to legal requirements, minimizing the risk of disputes and ensuring its validity.

Avoiding Probate Issues

Probate is the legal process through which a deceased person’s estate is distributed. Without proper estate planning, your assets may be subjected to probate, which can be a lengthy and expensive process. Estate planning attorneys employ strategies to help you avoid probate or minimize its impact, ensuring a smoother transition of your assets to your beneficiaries.

Protection of Beneficiaries’ Interests

An estate planning attorney acts as a safeguard for the interests of your beneficiaries. They can assist in establishing trusts, setting up guardianships for minor children, and ensuring the fair distribution of assets. By involving an attorney, you provide added protection to your loved ones, ensuring that their rights and inheritances are protected.

Mediation and Conflict Resolution

In the unfortunate event that disputes or conflicts arise among family members or beneficiaries, an estate planning attorney can serve as a mediator and help find amicable resolutions. Their experience in handling estate-related conflicts can prevent disputes from escalating into lengthy court battles, preserving family relationships and minimizing emotional stress during an already difficult time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: What are the consequences of not hiring an estate planning attorney?

A1: Failing to hire an estate planning attorney can result in various consequences, including the invalidation of your will, probate issues, disputes among beneficiaries, and potential court battles that may deplete your estate.

Q2: Can’t I just write my own will to save money?

A2: While it is possible to write your own will, there are numerous legal formalities that must be adhered to. Mistakes or oversights in the drafting and execution of a will can render it invalid or subject to challenges. Hiring an estate planning attorney ensures that your will is properly prepared and legally enforceable.

Q3: How much does hiring an estate planning attorney cost?

A3: The cost of hiring an estate planning attorney varies depending on various factors, such as the complexity of your estate, the services required, and your location. Shutt Law Firm’s Richardson, TX, estate planning attorneys actually provide flat-rate attorney fees for many estate plan services.

Q4: What other services can an estate planning attorney provide?

A4: Estate planning attorneys offer a range of services beyond will drafting, including trust creation, asset protection strategies, power of attorney designation, healthcare directives, and business succession planning. Shutt Law Firm provides comprehensive guidance tailored to your specific needs and goals.

Q5: Do I need an estate planning attorney if I don’t have many assets?

A5: Even if you have limited assets, hiring an estate planning attorney can still be beneficial. They can assist in setting up contingency plans, appointing guardians for minor children, and ensuring that your wishes are carried out efficiently.

Q6: When should I start estate planning?

A6: It is advisable to start estate planning as soon as possible, regardless of age or wealth. Life is unpredictable, and having a well-thought-out estate plan in place provides peace of mind and protects your loved ones in the event of unexpected circumstances.


Aretha Franklin’s legal battles over her handwritten wills serve as a cautionary tale, emphasizing the importance of hiring an estate planning attorney. By enlisting their expertise, you can ensure that your estate plan is legally sound, tailored to your specific needs, and minimizes the risk of disputes and legal battles. Estate planning attorneys provide invaluable guidance, protecting your legacy and safeguarding the interests of your loved ones. Don’t leave your estate to chance—consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to secure your future.




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To ask a legal question or get legal help from the Texas estate planning attorneys and probate attorneys at Shutt Law Firm, use the online contact form, schedule a Texas trust attorney consultation, or call (214) 302-8197.

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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 Arapaho Road in Richardson, TX.

You can also call Shutt Law Firm at (214) 302-8197 for more information on the topic discussed in this article or to discuss a different legal matter.

Please consider the Shutt Law Firm if you want to know about how to get a last will and testament in Richardson, Texas, more about a revocable living trust, or you need Dallas Estate Planning 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 an attorney at Shutt Law Firm sign an engagement letter.


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