Frequently Asked Questions About Wills

The Characterization of Property in Texas

I have written before that the characterization of property as separate or community dictates who inherits property when a married person dies without a Will in Texas.  It also affects which property you can dispose of in a Will at your death. But how does one distinguish between which property is community and separate? The … Read More

What is a Holographic Will?

Can you imagine writing your will on your bedroom wall? How about the fender of your vehicle? According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the shortest will in the world consisted of three words — “All to wife”– written on the bedroom wall of a man who realized his death was imminent.  In 1948, … Read More

Is A Fill-In-The-Blank Will Valid in Texas?

John was just about to go on vacation and wanted to have a Will in place in case a tragic accident occurred. So, he did what many Americans do: he searched for a Will form online. He really didn’t have time to read up on what makes a Will valid in Texas. He had less … Read More

Can I Change My Will Before My Divorce is Final?

Couples who are happily married make different estate planning choices than couples who are separated and heading towards divorce. Happily married couples generally create Wills that protect and provide for their spouses, but in the midst of a separation, their wishes change. They want to exclude their spouses and wonder what will happen if they … Read More

Will Having a Will Help me Avoid Probate?

I received a note this week from someone who was confused. A friend’s husband had died leaving a Will that gave his wife a house he owned before they were married. She had presented a copy of the warranty deed, marriage license, and death certificate to local authorities expecting that nothing more would be required … Read More

Will Signed Before Marriage Doesn’t Make Provision for Spouse

A widow contacted me this week. Her husband of 19 years had recently passed away. She found a Will he had signed before they met leaving everything to his mother. He didn’t sign a new Will after they were married. She wondered what her inheritance rights were. Some states have pretermitted spouse statutes. The statutes … Read More