What happens if instead of signing his name, the testator just initials the document?
Texas courts have been lenient regarding the location and form of a “signature.” They have approved an X as a sufficient signature on an attested will. The most important factor is that the testator intended his mark to constitute his signature. A signature by initials executes a will if the instrument is testamentary in character and if the testator meant his initials to be his signature. 862 s.w.2d 8.
What are the requirements of a will in Texas
Texas requires that a will be in writing and signed by the testator or signed by another person on behalf of the testator and in the testator’s presence and under the testator’s direction.
Will contest in Texas
If someone is contesting a will in Texas and contends that the initials or the mark are not a sufficient signature, the issue at trial will be the testator’s intention when he initialed or put his mark on the document rather than whether or not the initials or the mark constitute a valid signature.
A professor at one of Texas’ Law Schools wrote an article about the future of marijuana and Probate in Texas. You can find the article here.
With the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in almost half of the states, practitioners need to be aware of interface between marijuana and estate planning. This article provides a discussion of the major issues that arise. After bringing readers up-to-date with the history of legalized marijuana, the article focuses on how marijuana use may impact a user’s capacity to execute a will and other estate planning documents. The article then examines other estate planning concerns such as will and trust provisions conditioning benefits on the non-use of “illegal drugs” and the impact of marijuana use on life insurance policies. The article wraps up with a discussion of how an estate planner may deal with marijuana-based assets when planning an estate and how to value those assets after the owner has died.
Professor GERRY W. BEYER, Governor Preston E. Smith Regents Professor of Law, Texas Tech University School of Law. B.A., Eastern Michigan University; J.D., Ohio State University; LL.M. & J.S.D., University of Illinois.
In an old Texas case, the attorney testified that the deceased insisted on an affidavit. He refused to make a will because his wife was refusing to make one. The attorney recommended that he execute a will instead but he refused. The court noted that even though the gentleman told his attorney that he did not want to make a will but an affidavit, the affidavit was in fact a will.
Can an affidavit be a will, Yes it can be
The case upholds a jury finding that the affidavit is a will. The court noted that the affidavit is unambiguous and is clearly testamentary in its character. It makes certain special bequests and then proceeds to dispose of the maker’s entire estate. It (more…)
For the same reasons Texas is seeing an increase in will contest. I have previously written on why contesting a will has become more common. You can view that article here. An English law firm, Soosmiths, has an article on their website that discusses the Ministry of Justice statements on the causes of the increase in such cases in England. The increase is as much as 700% over prior years!
English law is different from Texas law but the law firm notes several reasons that I have previously discussed like the change in the family structure and the fact that we are living longer. The English article also talks about self made or do it yourself wills being a cause (more…)
Possibly. I’ve previously written that a divorce voids any will provision in favor of an ex-spouse or his/her family. EC123.001(b), 201.001. If a new will is executed giving the ex-spouse property after the divorce or if the provision in favor of the ex-spouse is added to a will after the divorce, then those provisions in favor of the ex-spouse are valid. Likewise, I’ve previously written that a properly executed codicil republishes the will as of the date of the codicil. 280 2d 731. So, what does this all mean.
Problems After Divorce and Codicils
Let’s say a couple is divorced. Any provision in their wills in favor of the other one is void. Sometime later, the husband makes a codicil adding a small gift to his church. Because the codicil republishes the will as of the date of the codicil, those old provisions in the will in favor of the ex-spouse that were voided by the divorce now are brought back to life! The ex-spouse may inherit although that is not what is intended. The message for today is to go to your attorney and make a new will after a divorce. Otherwise, things that you don’t want to happen can happen.