What to d oif I had an uncle who lived with us for 4 years who recently passed with only a living Will?

UPDATED: Oct 28, 2013

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What to d oif I had an uncle who lived with us for 4 years who recently passed with only a living Will?

All of his possessions (most of which we are going to pitch) were in his room. He did sign a document noting all those possessions were to be provided to me after he passed. His investments all have beneficiaries so they are being resolved by providing death certificates to the responsible parties. Do I need to go into probate for the items in his room which is probably worth at the most $3,000 (if that).

Asked on October 28, 2013 under Estate Planning, Ohio


Brook Miscoski / Hurr Law Office PC

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A "living will" is about whether you want to be kept alive by machines and related issues; it is not about who will inherit your property.

In Texas, a "holographic" (handwritten) will can be valid to probate if it is handwritten and signed by the testator. Other wills (such as the more usual situation where the will is created using a word processor) require the signature of competent witnesses (along with the testator's). A will that does not meet those requirements may be held invalid. In this case, if the will your uncle left was invalid, there's a chance that a descendant or parent, rather than you, would get the possessions (which you don't want anyway).

If you do have custody of someone's will, in Texas you are required to submit it for probate. An "interested party" (likely a family member) can ask the court to force you to probate the will. Not that anyone would (especially if everyone has agreed to toss the stuff), but legally speaking it's cleaner and would help protect you, god forbid, from a situation where you destroyed an estate when there was some kind of debt that could be leveled against it, for example.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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