Almost anything can be included in a will. A reference to a memorandum can be included in the will. The memorandum indicates which relatives or friends will receive specific items (such as furniture or jewelry) from the estate. This is completely legal. Since the memorandum is not actually part of the will, it is just a suggestion for the executor. The executor of the will needs to be named, and there should be an alternate executor in case that named executor becomes unable to act or unable to perform the duties.
There are two terms that are used in all wills: testator and testatrix. The testator is the male who is writing the will, and the testatrix is the female who is writing the will. There is also the executor of the will, who is male, and the executrix of the will, who is female. In Texas, we do not use joint testators or joint executrices because that would mean that there would be at least two people trying to run one estate, and sometimes there can be conflict. So, I always recommend just one executor at a time.
A will does not really address a customized plan should someone become incapacitated or develop medical issues. The documents that should be used are the medical power of attorney and the attorney ad litem. This is because it may be necessary to have someone handle medical or business issues before a death occurs; it would be problematic. If someone waited to take care of these issues in the will that would be problematic because the will would not be effective until after that person died.
The necessary parties involved in creating a will include the testator, the beneficiaries, the executor, the witnesses and the notary. I usually include the names of the person’s children. If there is a child that the testator does not want to be included in the will, then the will should include a sentence that explicitly states his or her intention to leave that child out of the will. There does not have to be a reason given as to why that child is being left out.
After someone has passed away, the will process begins by taking the original will to an estate attorney. The estate attorney will prepare an application to probate the will and ask for letters testamentary that are filed with the court at the end of the court hearings. The letters testamentary are sent to the stockbrokers or the oil and gas companies that they have leases with in order to change the title of those accounts.
If it is a straightforward case, then the client can go to court after about three or four weeks in order to confirm that the will is the last will and is accurate. The client will answer various questions in front of a judge with regard to the will. Smaller counties may do things somewhat differently.
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