Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Article: When Helping Hurts: Issues With Texas' New Statutory Fill-In-The-Blank Wills

Craig Woody (Texas Tech University School of Law)  recently published, When Helping Hurts: Issues With Texas’ New Statutory Fill-In-The-Blank Wills, 2024. Provided below is an Abstract:

Societies that promote testamentary freedom have always sought to address the challenge of providing access to estate planning for impoverished individuals. One solution that many states began implementing in the latter part of the twentieth century was statutory form wills. However, the trend quickly fizzled out as legislatures weighed the benefits with the realization that statutory forms are not necessarily user friendly. Studies found that most of the form wills are filled out incorrectly which results in probate issues and estates being resolved through intestacy laws. After a long hiatus, Texas renewed the focus on statutory form wills when it passed legislation in 2015 which directed the Supreme Court of Texas to draft fill-in-the-blank wills. This comment aims to demonstrate that the push for form wills in Texas causes more issues for indigent Texans than it solves. The solution is to either repeal the legislation, amend the implementation to an online format, or loosen parole evidence laws to facilitate the probate of incorrect form wills.


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