Estate Planning Part 1 of a 6 part series - WILLS


What Is a Will?
A will is a legal document that sets forth your wishes regarding the distribution of your property and the care of any minor children. A self-proving will, also known as testamentary will, is the traditional type of will with which most people are familiar. It is a formally prepared document that is signed in the presence of witnesses, and notarized


Why Do I Need One?
Creating a will gives you sole discretion over the distribution of your assets. It lets you decide how your belongings, such as cars or family heirlooms, should be distributed. If you have a business or investments, your will can direct the smooth transition of those assets. If you have minor children, a will lets you provide for their care. If you have children from a prior marriage, even if they are adults, your will can dictate the assets they receive. Creating a will also minimizes tensions between survivors. Relatives battling over your possessions can weaken what may have otherwise been a strong family. If you are charitably inclined, a will lets you direct your assets to the charity of your choice. Likewise, if you wish to leave your assets to an institution or an organization, a will can see that your wishes are carried out.


Example: This is a typical example of how a Will is usually made out "I wish to leave my house to my wife Jane-and I wish to leave Ten thousand cash to my son Mark, Ten thousand cash to my daughter Sandra. I further leave my favorite painting to my next door neighbor John"!
In the event there is "NO-WILL" made then there could be disputes amongst the parties mentioned above like my son Mark may refuse to hand over the painting to John my neighbor,  although I may have ..verbally...promised John the painting in my lifetime.

How Do I Get a Will?
When you are ready to prepare a will, compile a list of your assets and debts. Be sure to include the contents of safe deposit boxes, items of sentimental value, family heirlooms and other assets that you wish to transfer to a particular person or entity. If your estate is substantial (ranging in the millions of dollars) or your situation is legally complex, you may wish to
enlist the services of an attorney. If so, be sure to work with someone who is familiar with your state's laws and has extensive experience writing wills. Your state bar association may be able to help you locate a suitable attorney.


If you are comfortable taking care of the task on your own, there are a number of software programs available to assist you, as well as a variety of websites. Simply follow the instructions provided.


The Bottom Line
Making a will is a necessary and usually fairly simple process that can save your family time, money and grief as well as give you peace of mind.



What does a notary cost?

In Texas the cost for notary services are set by the legislature and governed by the Secretary of State's office.  The current Maximum Notary Fees for Texas are as follows.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT:     $6    for the first signature plus $1 for each additional signature on the same document.


JURAT:       $6      per signature, including oath or affirmation.


CERTIFIED COPIES:    $6      per certificate.


TRAVEL AND OUTSIDE OF NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS FEE:      Travel fee and extended hours fees for notaries are not mentioned in Texas statute.  Such fees are proper only if the notary and signer agree beforehand on the amount.  The signer must understand that a special services fee is not required nor specified in law and is a private charge separate from the notarial fees described above.


REGULAR BUSINESS HOURS:  Monday - Friday 8am - 6 pm. 


Appointments available 24 hours a day.  Call for rates.