My wife and I had wills drawn up by an attorney in Pensacola FL in 1999.
They were uncomplicated, basically leaving 50% to our four children and the remaining 50% to our grandchildren. Nothing has changed.
The package included:
-Last Will and Testament -Durable Powers of Attorney
-Health Care Surrogate Designations
We moved to Texas in 2003. Are these documents still valid in the state of Texas?
Thank you for your help
[name omitted] Braunfels, TX
The Florida will is enforceable but may be more expensive to probate if the executor is required to get court approval for every action. The other documents may not be enforceable.
Mergers / Acquisitions Attorney
Besides what Lu Ann already said, you may also find that your wills are not properly "self proved" underTexas law. If that is the case, then your executor would have to find one of the witnesses to your Florida wills and have them testify regarding the will signing ceremony. Obviously, that can be difficult to do.
Please do NOT consider buying an on-line will kit, especially if you own real estate in Texas.
Probate in Texas is simple if done properly. There are certain rules that Texas requires you to do to keep probate simple -- such as the SELF PROVING AFFIDAVIT.
If you have children by another marriage, if your estate contains real estate and/or if your estate is over $25,000, then PLEASE hire a TX attorney to do it right.
If not done properly, probate in Texas is expensive and very time-consuming since the Judge will have to approve everything.
The TX legislature decided if is a person is unwilling to do a proper TX will then they would make sure that no one can cheap the estate -- therefore the attorneys will get a lot more money handling the probate because it is so time-consuming.
I once talked to a lady with over $100,000 in cash and she called a free legal line for will advice. I tried to explain to her that she was making a huge mistake but she thought that $400-$500 was too much money to pay an attorney for legal advice and documents. I'm sure her family regretted her short-sighted decision.
I recommend that you find an attorney in your area that does a lot of wills and probate.
You should also do some other legal documents -- such as (1) designation of person to bury you (2) durable power of attorney for health care (3) directive to physician and friends aka living will (4) durable power of attorney for financial matters (5) future designation of guardian, (6) HIPAA (sp?) Release, etc.
My mother and I went to see her stock broker and banker over a year ago and we executed all necessary papers. Even though I had durable poa each company wanted documents signed and notarized that were done by their lawyers. Just a couple of months ago my mom almost died and I was very easily able to pay her bills and talk to her doctors and serve as her advocate while she was unable to speak for herself. (One doctor and I "butted" heads but he later admitted that I knew my mother and that I was right and he'd been wrong. It the legal forms on file at the hospital, I was able to block him from discharging her too soon from the hospital.)
Most people don't just die when they get sick, many linger for months or years before death. Please talk to an experienced will attorney or elder law attorney to discuss your options. You and your family will be glad that you did!