Last Will And Testament
What is a Will and Testament?
A last Will and Testament describes what you would like done with your estate after you pass. It generally will list who you want your real property and personal property to go to (beneficiaries, devisees), who you would like to administer your estate (executor/executrix), who you would like to care for your children, and other very important information.
What Information do I need to provide or bring to my consultation for a Will?
Nothing. You do not need to bring anything with you when you come to meet with us to discuss your will and estate planning. You do not even have to know what your plans are. We will walk you through what to think about and the considerations for planning a will. When we first meet for the consultation, we sit down and brainstorm. It is very simple and stress-free.
Who needs a Will?
Everyone. We often hear that people think they do not need a Will because they do not have much to leave behind after they die. Or that their income or assets fluctuate a lot and it would be difficult to say exactly how much they have to leave behind. These are not good reasons to not have a will done. Even if you want a simple will where we can say, everything to my spouse if they survive me or I leave everything to my children to be split among them evenly.
Do I have to tell the law firm my personal information?
No. The attorneys at Oxner Legha Law Firm will never ask you how much you are worth or how much you are leaving behind. Those questions are generally asked by firms that want to know how much to charge you. We charge the same rate no matter what – a flat rate.
We will not ask for your Social Security number. The only information we require when drafting a will and estate documents are the names, addresses and phone numbers of each person listed in the Will.
How does a law firm draft a will?
There are many ways to draft a will and many things to consider, but fortunately, our staff has drafted and executed many wills over the years and have the experience of planning a wide variety of estates for individuals and families.
We shall take the stress out of the planning for you and assist you through how to best prepare for you and your family’s future.
What happens if I do not have a will?
If you do not have a will, then your property will be left to your family members and the administration of the estate can be more costly as the court will have to appoint a neutral attorney (in addition to the attorney hired to probate the estate) to determine who are the heirs of the individual who has died (decedent). This extra expense of the neutral attorney (attorney ad litem) can be avoided with the drafting of a proper and valid will.
Should I get a will done by a lawyer?
Yes. Do not think you are too young to get a will or estate plan done. Whether you have a lot or a little, it is a good idea to get started and set up a consultation with one of our lawyers to learn how to best prepare for your future. We will also discuss ways to avoid probate so that the people that you leave your belongings to may not have to hire an attorney to administer the estate.
What are the basic requirements of a Will in Texas?
1. in writing, 2. signed, and 3. attested by two witnesses.
The complete requirements of a Will can be found under the Texas Estates Code.
To be valid, the Will must be signed by the Testator (the person whose name appears in the Will) and two disinterested witnesses (two people who are not related to you and are not mentioned in the Will).
Do I need to provide the witnesses when I get a Will drafted?
No. We will provide witnesses. When we draft and execute a Will, we provide the two witnesses in our office and also a notary at no extra cost. We will also send our clients a digital copy of the Will and Estate Documents just in case you lose them and so that you can also share them with those with whom you feel comfortable having a copy.
How do I pick an executor of my will?
We suggest picking someone to serve as executor that you think would be the best person or persons to handle all of your life affairs tomorrow if you were unable to do so on your own.
Is a Will valid if it is all in my handwriting?
Yes. This is known as a holographic Will. While we do not recommend holographic wills, they are valid in Texas and do not need to be witnessed so long as the entire will is in your handwriting.
Is a digital copy of a Will valid?
Yes. Digital copies of a Will can be admitted to probate with certain testimony regarding the inability to locate the original will and also to the validity of the will itself.
Where Should I Store my Will?
We do not recommend hiding your Will or Estate Documents or placing them in an envelope that can be easily misidentified as a document that could be mistaken for trash and thrown out. We recommend that you let your executor know where your will and estate documents are located in case they need to retrieve them after you pass.
Does the Oxner Legha Law Firm provide me with a digital copy of my will once it is done?
Yes. All too often we hear after someone has passed away that the family knows that the individual had a valid will done but they cannot find it. Do make sure to store your will in a safe location and let others know where it is. And, if you have your will and estate documents drafted by us at the Oxner Legha Law Firm we will send you a digital PDF copy of all of the documents. That way it will be preserved and you can digitally back it up. We do not store originals here in our office.
Is a Notary Necessary to make a will valid?
No. A notary is not necessary, but the notary is necessary to have the two witnesses swear to certain facts so as to eliminate the need for one of the witnesses to appear in court to the validity of the testator’s signature. While a notary is not needed to make the Will valid, it again, does help in not having to track down one of the witnesses. When a Will is properly witnessed and attested to before a notary, it is called self-proved. The requirements for a self-proved will are found under Sec. 251.101. of the Texas Estates Code.
What happens to the Will when Probated?
The court keeps the original will when it is probated. When you have a Will and it is admitted to probate, the executor is issued Letters of Testamentary. We will also direct you on how to avoid will contests.
Does the Oxner Legha Law Firm provide witnesses and a notary when they draft will and estate documents?
Yes. We will provide two witnesses and a notary for your will signing ceremony.
Can I get a Testamentary Trust in my last will and testament?
Yes. We often include testamentary trusts at the request of our clients, especially when the beneficiaries are currently children.
Do I need to change my will after I get divorced?
It depends. Your spouse will no longer receive under your will after you get divorced. One of the questions asked during the offering of a will for probate is whether or not a divorce was terminated or dissolved after the will was made. It is always a good idea though to update your will or codicil if major changes are needed within the will.
Can my wife still inherit in my will if we get divorced?
No. If you get divorced, the law treats it as if your wife died prior to your passing.
Can my husband still inherit from me if we get divorced?
No. If you get divorced, the law treats it as if your husband died prior to your passing.
How do I get started on a Will?
If you need a Will drafted and signed by licensed professionals who can guide you through the steps, contact us at the Oxner Legha Law Firm by either sending us an email or giving us a call at 346-327-9500.