Frequently Asked Questions About Wills

Have You Reviewed Your Will Lately?

I always schedule a document review conference with my clients before they sign their Wills. It gives my clients the opportunity to ask questions they may have about various provisions in their documents to that they have a clear understanding of all the provisions in their documents before they sign them. One of the thingsRead More

What is a Testamentary Trust?

A testamentary trust is a trust created in your Will that lies dormant until the death of the testator (the person creating the Will) springs it to life. Unlike a trust created and funded during one’s lifetime, such as a revocable living trust or an irrevocable trust, no assets will be transferred into the testamentaryRead More

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 youRead 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. WhenRead 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 yourRead 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 aRead More