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Author: Tony Ray

Can A Will Be Signed By Initials In Texas

What are the requirements of a will in Texas Texas requires that a will be in writing and signed by the testator or signed by another person on behalf of the testator and in the testator’s presence and under the testator’s direction. Can a will be signed by initials in Texas What happens if instead of signing his name, the testator just initials the document? Texas courts have been lenient regarding the location and form of a “signature.” They have approved an X as a sufficient signature on an attested will. The most important factor is that the testator intended his mark to constitute his signature. A signature by initials executes a will if the instrument is testamentary in character and if the testator meant his initials to be his signature. 862s.w.2d8. Will contest in Texas If someone is contesting a will in Texas and contends that the initials or the mark are not a sufficient signature, the issue at trial will be the testator’s intention when he initialed or put his mark on the document rather than whether or not the initials or the mark constitute a valid...

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Gift Deeds In Texas

What are the requirements for deeds in Texas To be a valid deed, the document must be (1) in writing, (2) signed, (3) describe the property, and (4) delivered. TPC §5.021. What are the requirements for gift deeds in Texas To be valid, gift deeds in Texas further require the document set forth (1) the intent of the grantor, (2) the delivery of the property to the grantee, and (3) the gift to be accepted by the grantee. The one claiming the gift bears the burden to establish each of the elements. All dominion and control over the property must be released by the owner. Delivery is required, but it need not be actual or immediate. If the grantor intended for the title to pass immediately upon execution and acknowledgement, there is a valid constructive delivery. Recent case dealing with gift deeds in Texas In 2016, the San Antonio court of appeals was asked to decide if a document was a gift deed. The document was titled “March 11, 2005 Will” of two people who owned the property in question and was signed by them. The document said “we agree that the house be evenly owned by” the grandchildren. The court ruled that the key issue turns on the intent of the donor when the document was executed. A gift is a voluntary transfer of property to another made...

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Can you have a secret common-law marriage in Texas

Texas Law Texas recognizes common-law marriages or what Texas refers to as” informal” marriages. An informal marriage may be proved by one of two ways. The first way is to introduce a declaration of informal marriage that has been filed with the County clerk. If there is no declaration of marriage, a common law marriage may be proved by showing: (1) agreement to be married; (2) after the agreement, living together in Texas as husband and wife; and (3) representing to others in Texas that they were married. FC §2.401. The statutory requirement of “represented to others” is synonymous with the judicial requirement of “holding out to the public.” Both of these methods of proving an informal marriage depend upon the marriage being open and obvious to anyone who bothers to look. Can you have a secret common-law marriage in Texas What happens in those circumstances when the informal marriage is kept secret from a few are many people? The courts have held that a marriage that was secret from only a few members of the couple’s family was a common-law marriage because the marriage was widely known in the community. 734 S.W.2d 27. On the other hand, courts have denied a common law marriage when the marriage was know to only a few. 333 S.W.2d 361. In other words the cohabitation must be professedly as husband and wife, and...

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Can An Executor Sell Property To Himself

Facts In a Texas case out of the Houston Court of Appeals in 2016, a will had given a certain piece of land to several of the decedent’s children share and share alike. The will appointed one of the children as the executor of the estate. The executor sold the property to himself instead of giving it to all the children. The other siblings were not happy and one of them asked the court to void the deed and to remove the executor for his actions. The court did remove the executor and voided the deed. The executor appealed. The executor told the appeals court that the will had a provision that the executor could “sell, manage, and dispose” of the property in the estate. Relying on this provision in the will, the executor said that he had the power under the will to sell the property to himself. Can an executor sell property to himself The Court of Appeals was not impressed with the executor’s argument. The court held that the Texas Estates Code did not allow the executor to sell the property to himself unless it was authorized by the will. §356.651, §356.652 and §356.655. They held that the use of the words “sell, manage, and dispose” were not a sufficient authorization for him to deed the property to himself. They upheld the trial court’s ruling that...

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When Are You Dead For Probate Purposes, Part 3

When Are You Dead For Probate Purposes Everybody knows when you are dead, right? When the question involves when are you dead for probate purposes the answer is not quite so settled. I have written before on this question of when are you dead for probate purposes and those articles are cited at the bottom of this article. Simultaneous Death Act The question usually arises because Texas, as most states, has a statute that deals with survivorship when two people die around the same time. In Texas, if you die within 120 hours of another person you are presumed to have died at the same time. Usually when these statutes are invoked, the issue involves close family members like a husband and wife. If the husband and wife die close together in time, the state doesn’t want to require the children to have to file an estate for the father and then put his money into the mother’s estate and then open an estate for the mother and put her money into the estate of the father and then…. you can see the point. The issue is also important in joint accounts with right of survivorship. If the joint owners die close together, what happens to the money. The Simultaneous Death Act resolves that problem. One final issue is what happens when a will speaks to what happenes to...

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About me

Robert Ray

Board Certified, Personal Injury Trial Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization. We handle litigation cases related to inheritance disputes including will contest, related property disputes and associated torts throughout Texas. Our principal office is in Tyler, Texas. Contact Robert