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In the state of Texas can a married couple have a joint will or do they have to have seperate wills?

Houston, TX |

My husband has 4 kids from a previous marriage and I have one. We both want to leave everything to my daughter. I also have heir land and we have 2 homes together. We also have 2 homes together and some land in California. We would like to leave our daughter ( he has raised her since a baby and she has been the only one there for us) all of these things but we dont want 2 wills. Do we have to have 2 wills or can we just do one?

Attorney Answers 4

  1. You have a fairly complicated situation that should be addressed by a local lawyer who specializes in estate planning. You should NOT have only one will. I would consider trusts as well as wills. Also depending on the value of your California property , you will want to put that in a living trust because california has percentage attorney fees for probate.

    Hope this helps. If you think this post was helpful, please check the answer was a good answer tab below. Thanks. Mr. Geffen is licensed to practice law throughout the state of Texas with an office in Dallas. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States and is licensed to practice in US Tax Court as well as The Court of Claims. This answer is provided as a public service and as a general response to a general question, it is not meant, and should not be relied upon as specific legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

  2. Once upon a time, attorneys did write "joint Wills" for married clients; however, they are no longer in use because they are a nightmare to probate and interpret.

    I agree with Attorney Geffen that you should ask an estate planning attorney whether a Living Trust is appropriate for your family. Having a Living Trust, however, does not eliminate the need for a Will. Anyone whose assets are held by a Living Trust should still have Pour Over Wills which dictate the distribution of any of their property that has not be transferred to the Trust. Only an attorney who has met with you and analyzed your family situation, your finances, and your goals can tell you exactly what is the right fit for you and your husband.

    DISCLAIMER: The Valkovich Law Firm, PLLC provides this information to you only for the educational purposes of imparting general information and a general understanding of the law. This answer does not offer legal advice. The use of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and The Valkovich Law Firm or any of its attorneys. Do not use this information as a substitute for specific legal advice.

  3. A Post Nuptual Agreement is sometimes used in a situation such as yours if there is major concern of a challenge from the children of the previous marriage. Such agreements are considered contracts, and hard to break in Texas. The California land is best put in a trust, however, and thus it appears a trust with a pour-over Will for you each will best serve your needs. The trust will be a revocable trust until one of you has died, in which case a good part of the trust becomes irrevocable.

  4. I personally believe that is malpractice for a lawyer to draft a joint will. The problems with them far outweigh any benefits, if there are any benefits.

    DISCLAIMER: This is not specific legal advice and does not establish an attorney/client relationship.

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