How to Know if a DIY Will is Right for You.
Probate is the process of settling the final affairs of a loved one. Parties involved in probate need to understand the legal terminology used to ensure that the administration of the decedent’s estate can proceed efficiently.
Losing a family member is one of the most heartbreaking occurrences anyone can experience in life. No matter how prepared you can be, it can be very difficult to say goodbye. However, there are some crucial tasks that you need to handle even while you grieve.
Probate is a court-supervised legal process to settle a person’s estate after they die, whether they have left a will or not, the latter of which is called “dying intestate” in legal terms.
Settling a deceased person’s final affairs and transferring assets to inheritors often involves several complicated procedures. Ideally, the probate process should be simple and straightforward once there is a valid will. However, we do not live in an ideal world. Different challenges are often encountered during the probate or estate administration process.
Executors play a significant role in settling the final affairs of a deceased person and distributing assets to heirs and beneficiaries. According to a 2018 study by EstateExec.com, on average, settling an estate takes an executor approximately 16 months or nearly 570 hours of effort. Therefore, when appointed as an executor, understanding your duties and responsibilities will make it possible for you to act diligently, ethically, and in accordance with the decedent's wishes.
Texas is one of 26 states that allows a handwritten or “holographic” will. Although other states hold that handwritten wills are imprecise, ambiguous, and prone to forgery, studies have shown those opinions to be generally erroneous. For some people, a handwritten will done correctly is a far better option than having no will at all.
Most of the time, the contents of a will are not unexpected. Those who knew the author of the will, the “testator,” anticipated how they would distribute their estate. Nonetheless, there are times when an heir, beneficiary, or creditor may suspect foul play and initiate a will contest.
Perhaps the signature looks off, things have been crossed out without authentication, or a page seems to be missing. Or maybe the content of the will simply does not match what you knew about your loved one and their wishes. Could their will be forged? The fact is that very few wills are formally contested, but that does not mean there are not forgeries submitted to the probate court when people die.
A popular myth maintains that, if two people live together for seven years, they have then entered into what is called a “common law” marriage. In truth, no state recognizes marriage as resulting from just cohabitation, and most states do not recognize common-law marriages at all. Texas is one of a handful of states that do recognize common-law marriages. So what happens if one spouse in a common-law marriage passes away?