Texas Legal Forms Vs. Hiring A Texas Will Attorney
UPDATED: January 5, 2020
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When it comes to creating wills in Texas, consumers have a few choices: use a legal form or bookstore kit or hire an estate planning attorney. So, why is it in someone’s best interests to have their will written by an experienced attorney instead of purchasing a DIY kit online?
Looking at Your Specific Situation
Texans should look at their situation to decide which better suits their needs, according to R. David Weaver, a Texas attorney with over 25 years experience whose practice offers a wide range of legal services including Texas estate planning, and probate. He explains, “I’m not one to say that those types of [online or bookstore] wills are always inappropriate. There are certain circumstances, limited situations, where a person can either go online or go to the bookstore, buy a will package, fill in the blanks and do his own will.”
Weaver says that when people ask him that question, he generally gives them one of the following two responses:
I can give myself a haircut. I don’t know what it’s going to look like when I get done, but I can get the clippers to my hair if I’ve got a mind to.
I can give myself an appendectomy because I generally know where it’s located, but it’s probably going to hurt a whole lot.
Common Mistakes When Creating DIY Texas Will
Those who decide to create their own will should be aware of some common mistakes, according to Weaver. He explains, “The layperson typically will not provide for contingent beneficiaries. A typical layperson will not provide for children born or adopted after the making of the will. A layperson never answers the question of what he wants to do with his estate for his remote descendents – whether the distribution is per capita or per stirpes (both of which are methods used in dividing the estate of a person).” He provided the following example:
If a person has his children as beneficiaries or contingent beneficiaries who would have taken under the will, but one of the children predeceases the decedent and leaves children, the question becomes, ‘What do I do with the grandchildren? I mean, do I leave them an equal share with my own children who did survive me or do I just leave them out all together and let my surviving children take the entire thing?’
Unfortunately, Weaver says that most of the time, laypersons don’t even consider this and just leave out the per capita or per stirpes. He says what happens is that if one of the children predeceases them leaving grandchildren; they just leave their grandchildren out in the cold.
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