Frequently Asked Questions About Wills

Is it Necessary for a Witness to Read my Will?

Wills include private information about how your property will be disposed of when you die. Clients often want this information to remain private and are therefore concerned about whether it is necessary to share the content of their Wills with their witnesses. To be valid, an attested Will must be in writing, signed by you … Read More

The Characterization of Real Estate Purchased With Separate Property During Marriage

A reader asked a very interesting question recently after reading my article on the characterization of property in Texas. He asked whether a house purchased during a marriage wholly with the husband’s separate property will be classified as separate or community property if title is taken in the name of both husband and wife. When … Read More

Who Inherits If The Beneficiary Of My Will Dies Before Me?

Although it’s unpleasant to consider, there is a possibility that those whom you’d like to benefit in your Will may not survive you. For example, you may wish to give all your worldly possessions to your spouse, but he or she may die before you. Or you may wish to pass your estate to your … Read More

Is Gift to Stepchildren Void if Testator is Divorced After Signing a Will?

I received a note yesterday from someone whose mother had recently passed away. His mother’s Will, which was made before she divorced, identified her stepchildren as beneficiaries. The note’s author asked: “Do the stepchildren have any claim to my mother’s estate?” The Texas Estate Code specifically addresses this issue. Section 123.001(b) provides that if a … Read More

Can I Rewrite a Deceased Person’s Will?

I received a message from someone this week whose husband had passed away seven years earlier leaving a Will that gave all his worldly possessions her. However, she never had the Will probated. I’m not sure what circumstances caused her to ask this question, but she wondered whether it was possible for her to now … Read More

Is A Will Signed By One Witness Valid If It Is Also Signed by a Notary?

I have written before about the requirements of a valid will in Texas. To be valid, a Will must be signed by the testator, or another person at the testator’s direction and in his presence, and attested in the presence of the testator by at least two credible witnesses. I received a note this week from a … Read More