A will should be kept in a safe place. A safety deposit box is not the best place because it would be necessary to go to court to get permission to open it, and that could take several months. I recommend that my clients put their wills in a locked waterproof and fireproof box in their home. Due to the occurrence of natural disasters in Texas (floods, tornados, hurricanes etc.), a dresser drawer or a cardboard box is not a safe place. I also recommend that they have their children, a friend or their spouse keep a signed copy of the will. This is because if they lose the original will, then they could go to the court with a signed and executed copy of the will.
People should give their will a checkup every 10 years to make sure it is still what they want. People will also have to change their will if a significant event occurs, such as the death of a spouse or other beneficiary. Many people do not even think about changing a will when it is more than 15 years old.
Creating a will does not have to be expensive. The cost is based on how much property a person has. If a person has lots of land, artifacts, jewelry or special collections, then it will be more expensive to create their will. In addition, creating a trust will be more expensive. A simple will costs anywhere from about $300 to $3,000, but there is no set price for a will.
When I first started practicing law, I worked with a man who was about 10 years older than me and who had been practicing for a long time. A lot of his friends’ parents were dead, so I probated many wills when I was just starting out as a lawyer. I now have 30 or 40 years worth of experience in probate, and I have handled the estates of people who have died in airplane accidents, boating accidents, etc. Those things make the probating of the estate much more complicated. I once handled the probate of an English person whose entire family lived in England. Since he died here, he had to be probated here. So, I feel like I am really experienced and empathetic toward families who have been left to try to cope with the death of a loved one. I am gentle and explain everything to them so that they will not feel like they are trying to handle something that is way over their head.
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