Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Jan 5, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

When it comes to creating wills in Texas, consumers have a few choices: use a legal form or bookstore kit or hire an estate planning attorney. So, why is it in someone’s best interests to have their will written by an experienced attorney instead of purchasing a DIY kit online?

Looking at Your Specific Situation

Texans should look at their situation to decide which better suits their needs, according to R. David Weaver, a Texas attorney with over 25 years experience whose practice offers a wide range of legal services including Texas estate planning, and probate. He explains, “I’m not one to say that those types of [online or bookstore] wills are always inappropriate. There are certain circumstances, limited situations, where a person can either go online or go to the bookstore, buy a will package, fill in the blanks and do his own will.”

Weaver says that when people ask him that question, he generally gives them one of the following two responses:

I can give myself a haircut. I don’t know what it’s going to look like when I get done, but I can get the clippers to my hair if I’ve got a mind to.

I can give myself an appendectomy because I generally know where it’s located, but it’s probably going to hurt a whole lot.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Common Mistakes When Creating DIY Texas Will

Those who decide to create their own will should be aware of some common mistakes, according to Weaver. He explains, “The layperson typically will not provide for contingent beneficiaries. A typical layperson will not provide for children born or adopted after the making of the will. A layperson never answers the question of what he wants to do with his estate for his remote descendents – whether the distribution is per capita or per stirpes (both of which are methods used in dividing the estate of a person).” He provided the following example:

If a person has his children as beneficiaries or contingent beneficiaries who would have taken under the will, but one of the children predeceases the decedent and leaves children, the question becomes, ‘What do I do with the grandchildren? I mean, do I leave them an equal share with my own children who did survive me or do I just leave them out all together and let my surviving children take the entire thing?’

Unfortunately, Weaver says that most of the time, laypersons don’t even consider this and just leave out the per capita or per stirpes. He says what happens is that if one of the children predeceases them leaving grandchildren; they just leave their grandchildren out in the cold.

Click here to speak with an experienced Texas estate planning lawyer. Consultations are free, without obligation and are strictly confidential.