The State of Texas has created will forms that are free and available for public use. Opinions differ on whether this is a good thing.
A state law from 2015 requires the Texas Supreme Court to create simple will forms. After much effort, draft forms were prepared and public comment on them was received. On May 5, 2023, the Texas Supreme Court approved the first forms for use.
The public using fill in the blank will forms without attorney assistance will no doubt lead to mistakes. Some critics predict a large increase in probate litigation. Another concern is that estate planning attorneys will have their income reduced.
The legislature’s goal for the forms is to cut down on the number of Texans who die without a will. Many of these people believe that they cannot afford an attorney prepared will. The argument goes that even a poorly prepared will is better than no will at all.
The approved forms are for single people (with or without children) and married people (also with or without children). The forms are available on the Texas Judicial Branch website.
To what degree the forms will reduce intestate estates and how many litigated estates will result will be shown over time. Regardless, the best professional advice will remain that clients are better served with wills prepared by a knowledgeable estate planning attorney.