Interesting Developments In Inheritance Laws

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Concealing, altering or destroying a will is a state jail felony in Texas.

Texas Penal Code §32.47(d)(1) makes it a state jail felony for a person to conceal, alter or hide a will of another person. The statute says “A person commits an offense if, with intent to defraud or harm another, he destroys, removes, conceals, alters, substitutes, or otherwise impairs the verity, legibility, or availability of a writing… An offense under this section is a state jail felony if the writing…is a will or codicil of another, whether or not the maker is alive or dead and whether or not it has been admitted to probate…” Obviously, it is not a crime to destroy or alter your own will.

Pearls of wisdom: Locating the will after someone has died is often difficult to do. A person may have the will but refuse to produce it. The Probate Code has a procedure to force a person to file the will with the clerk but this penal statute adds more ammunition to those seeking to locate the will.

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