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Top Mistakes People Make with Their Wills

There are several ways you can write a will in Texas: 

  1. Write it yourself
  2. Use an online document preparation service, or a will-writing program or template
  3. Hire a lawyer to write it with your input

The objective when writing a will is to make sure that your assets go to the people you want to have them and to ensure there will be no litigation among the beneficiaries when you are gone. Consumer Reports tested online will writing services in 2013 and found that none of them were adequate unless the estate’s needs were simple and straightforward. Furthermore, Consumer Reports hired a law professor to investigate over 1000 probated estates. The professor found that self-written wills were more likely to result in litigation. 

A good estate planning attorney like Stephanie Hon can prepare a will that meets the standards required to avoid litigation while also mitigating the effects of taxation on your beneficiaries. Call her office at (512) 888-9378 to begin the process of creating a valid will.

You can avoid serious mistakes when writing you will if you keep these elements in mind:

Name a Good Executor

The executor is the person responsible for closing out the deceased’s remaining financial obligations, including paying bills and taxes for the estate, disposing of assets to the beneficiaries named in the will, and making court appearances for the estate. These are important responsibilities, and the executor should be a reliable person who can be trusted implicitly by the testator (the person whose will is being written).

Abide by Texas’ Rules Regarding Wills

Texas law requires that a will must be in writing and signed by the testator or by another person on behalf of the testator and in the presence of the testator. A valid will must be attested to by two or more witnesses who are at least 14 years old, who sign the will also.

Don’t Omit Any Assets

One of the advantages of working with an estate planning attorney is making an exhaustive list of all the testator’s valuable assets. If not included in the will, assets will be distributed by the state of Texas according to the intestate succession process. The omitted asset could potentially be inherited by someone the testator does not wish to have it.

Designate Beneficiaries 

Working with an attorney will also give the testator the opportunity to name all the beneficiaries they wish to include in the will. A dialog with the attorney may help the testator review their life and make a complete list of all the significant people in it to potentially name in the will.

Execute the Will Properly

There are eight steps to probating a will in Texas. Among them are these:

  • Filing the will with the probate court.
  • Validating the will. The probate court holds a hearing to recognize the decedent’s death and review the decedent’s will. The executor will be appointed by the probate judge at this time.
  • Inventorying assets, identifying beneficiaries, and distributing the assets. Any conflicts or disputes must be resolved in order to finalize the estate.

Get Help from an Estate Planning Lawyer

The process of writing and executing a will can be easier for you, and you can be certain that all elements have been considered when you engage the expertise of an estate planning attorney like Stephanie Hon. The goal is to distribute assets and benefits to the family and friends of the testator and perhaps to put a smile on their face due to the testator’s generosity. Stephanie Hon has seen this many times, and you can call her at (512) 888-9378 to begin the process.

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Cedar Park, TX 78613


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Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.