What is a Will?
A "Will", or Last Will & Testament, is the vehicle by which you control the disposition of your property and the orderly settlement of your worldly affairs upon death. It is the device used to pass your legacy to the person(s) you choose. The vehicle best suited for those purposes is a written document meeting the requirements of Texas law. That document, called a Last Will & Testament, is a unique kind of document because it is expressly designed and intended to become effective only upon the death of its maker. Moreover, under Texas law, it can have no legal effect unless and until it is admitted to probate. The Wills created by this website meet all of the requirements of Texas law to be admissible in any probate court in this state as enforceable testamentary instruments.
What is Probate?
Probate is a term used to describe the process that must be followed to authenticate a Last Will & Testament and implement its directives. That process is commenced by filing an application to have the Will reviewed by a probate court judge for the purpose of determining whether it meets the requirement of Texas law and constitutes a valid and enforceable testamentary instrument. Texas has laws designed to simplify and expedite that process. The Wills created by this website take advantage of those laws.
Is Probate Necessary?
Every Last Will & Testament must be admitted to probate before it can have any legal effect. No executor, trustee, guardian or custodian named in a Last Will & Testament has any power or authority to act in any of those capacities until and unless the Will is admitted to probate. Texas has laws designed to simplify and expedite that process. The Wills created by this website take advantage of those laws.
While probate is necessary to activate and enforce the provisions of a persons Last Will & Testament, it is not always necessary to probate a persons Will. In other words, the existence of a Last Will & Testament does not impose a legal requirement that it be probated. Under certain circumstances, there is no need for the appointment of a representative to wind up a decedents affairs or to distribute his or her property. The problem is, how can you know for sure now that your loved ones will not need that option at the time of your death? If you have a Will, it can greatly simplify and reduce the expenses associated with death. If you dont, that option is not available. The Wills created by this website provide an inexpensive form of insurance against that contingency.
Why Have a Will?
A Last Will & Testament lets you control to whom and how your property will be distributed instead of the State of Texas. It provides an inexpensive option for the orderly settlement of your estate. It can provide, through a trust or custodianship, the structure and leadership for the care, education and support of special people in your life. A Will often prevents conflicts and preserves peace within your family and circle of friends. And, it allows a person of your choice to oversee that your affairs are settled and that your final wishes are carried out. Knowing that you have taken care of those matters and simplified your "passing" will give you peace of mind and it will minimize the headaches and heartaches for those you love. The Wills created in this website accomplish those objectives and, at the same time, minimize probate court action and expenses.
Who Needs a Will?
Answer: Persons wanting to avoid intestacy, (i.e. to die without a Will).
Why Not Die Intestate? Because: (1) you have no control over who inherits your property; (2) a judge would appoint the person to administer your estate; (3) the administrator appointed by the court would be required to get prior authorization from the judge for each act to be performed to handle the affairs of your estate; and (4) the administrator would be required to post a bond.
Result: Your property would pass to your heir-at-law, as defined by the Texas Probate Code. The probate proceedings would be very expensive, time-consuming and unpleasant.
The Alternative: Die testate, (i.e. with a Will), so your loved ones have the option to respect and implement your last wishes, probate your will with a minimum of expense and have a representative of your choice handle the affairs of your estate with a minimum of court supervision.
Is It Legal?
Yes. The Last Will & Testaments created by this website are legal documents. If created and signed in accordance with the provisions of this website, they will be admissible to probate and will fulfill the functions for which they were designed and are intended to be used.
This website expressly acknowledges that an attorney-client relationship is created between each person who creates a Last Will & Testament using this website and its developer, James M. Morris. That means that Mr. Morris openly accepts his fiduciary responsibilities, (i.e. duty of utmost trust and good faith), towards you, his client, and acknowledges that he is giving legal advice and rendering legal services through this website. It gives you, the user of the website, added assurance that the advice given is accurate and the wills created by this website will function as legal document, as represented.
Before you rely on the advice given in any website and before you purchase a Will created by or through a website, check the fine print. If it states that legal advice and/or legal services are not being rendered or that it is merely selling forms, the person behind that website is attempting to avoid the creation of an attorney-client relationship and its accompanying fiduciary obligations. The purpose of such a disclaimer is to relieve the lawyer of legal liability.
Is it Confidential?
Yes. The information you provide pursuant to the prompts provided by this website is confidential and will not be made available to anyone without your express written consent or pursuant to the order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
Who is txwills.com?
James M. Morris, State Bar No. 14487500, designed and developed this website and is responsible for its content. He is an experienced attorney licensed to practice law in all courts of the State of Texas, including the Supreme Court of Texas, and the United States District Courts for the Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas. He is not certified by the Texas Board of legal Specialization.
Mr. Morris holds a B.S. Degree from Texas A & M University in College Station, Texas, and a J.D. Degree from South Texas College of law in Houston, Texas. He was born in Quanah, Texas, in 1949, and lives with his wife of 30+ years in Sherman, Texas. They have four wonderful children.
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