… or must it be prepared by atty? Regards my mom’s will, she says it all in one paragraph.
The requirements for a valid will would vary by jurisdiction, but I doubt if they would ever include it being prepared by a lawyer.
really? well mom lives in TX
I suspect it’s a case of ‘not required/possibly reccomended’
Specifically, that a will doesn’t have to be prepared by a lawyer to be legal, however, that a lawyer familiar with estate law will be familiar with a number of the conditions a will must satisfy to be legal. Thus, if you don’t consult one, it won’t be invalid just because a lawyer wasn’t consulted, but it might be illegal because your mother forgot to include X, which the lawyer would have known should be there.
I am not a lawyer, and have no idea, myself, what X might be.
There are tons of Do-it-Yourself Will kits out there (books, online resources). Here is one such (just grabbed it at random…cannot vouch if it is any good or not).
That said any will can be contested and having an attorney prepare one helps to ensure the person’s wishes are met after their death (chances are an attorney will know how to foresee potential issues that may be fought over after the person’s death and see that their will is as ironclad as is possible).
Presumably you could write your will on the back of a napkin and as long as it meets a few requirements such as being signed by witnesses and so on (check the laws in your state to be sure…doubtless there are other requirements). I’ll bet it could be submitted to a court as legal document as long as it meets whatever the minimum requirements are for a will to be considered a legal will. The court will have to decide how reliable they think the document is and how much weight to give it but in theory I think it could work. That said it seems a dicey way at best to handle your will so I wouldn’t try it.
many thanks for the information! I’ll check the link provided too, didn’t know you could download Will kits, cool!
I think i will have my mom consult a lawyer… the concern is that mom is leaving everything to me, bank accts already set up, but wasnt sure her Will which she had notorized is sufficient, and unfortunately some siblings happen to be money-blood-sucking leaches who’d like nothing more from her than her $$$$… sad, but true… given this, prolly best to have mom at least show her Will to attny and if it’s clear-cut, simple no ambiguities, I suppose it’ll suffice… I just dont want to deal with any of “those” people afterwards, if you know what I mean and mom is not well, nearly 90, and I’m her primary caregiver.
It is entirely possible to write your own will, but I very strongly advise against it. Wills are complex and extremely easy to screw up with imprecise language and ambiguities. They’re fairly difficult to do well even if you know what you’re doing.
I know you don’t want to pay an attorney to write a simple will, but the few hundred bucks you pay him or her now could be peanuts compared to what you’ll shell out if your will gets tied up in probate.
It’s a little like doing your own dental work; doing it yourself might save a little money now, but possibly at the expense of pain, aggravation, and increased expense to fix any mess you may have made down the road. If you shop around, you should be able to find a lawyer who can do a will for you at a price you find reasonable.
This is just what I’m talking about; the more carefully crafted her will is now, the less likely it is you and the other heirs have to deal with aggravation and “those” people afterwards (whoever “those” people may be).
Yeesh, I missed this part. If your mother is elderly and you think your siblings are after her money, a do-it-yourself will from a kit you helped her write is just screaming for trouble and expensive litigation. Your mother should consult an attorney competent in wills and probate law.
Note the requirement of attestation by two witnesses. (A single notary would not suffice.) Also bear in mind that the witnesses should actually see the person sign the will.
Is the will handwritten? I don’t know Texas laws on hand-written (holographic) wills.
I join in the chorus of posters who suggest you consult an attorney in Texas. If there are other potential heirs out there and you anticipate trouble from them, it would be really unwise to take a “do it yourself” approach.
Also, if your mom is “not well” and nearly 90, and if you are her primary care giver, there may be questions down the road about your mother’s testamentary capacity (*i.e., * whether she is mentally capable of making the will) and of undue influence (an argument that you might have pressured or coerced her into making the will). By all means consult a lawyer to help shield yourself from these challenges.
In your case you obviously need to consult a lawyer, but for a simple will in an uncomplicated situation one of the online kits is fine. However, most states require a witness, often as many as three. The problem with a notary is that they are not witnessing the signing of the will, they are just certifying the identity of the signer. Not quite the same thing. Although the will need not be notarized, in my state they provide for “proving” the will by having the witnesses sign a separate (and very specific) document that is notarized. If they don’t get this they need to locate the witnesses after death & get the proof then.
Some states make exceptions for “holographic” wills, written entirely in the decedent’s hand and signed. These exceptions vary considerably by state IIRC.
In any case, this is strictly infotainment and anybody who considers this legal advice should go take a nap.
well I think you are all right–I’ll find an attorney for my mom and have him/her help her prepare a proper Will. Thanks for all the feedback, greatly appreciated