Should You File Your Will with the Court?
After I execute a client’s will, they will sometimes ask me, "Should I file the will with the court?" I’ve always been befuddled by the question even after hearing the question for over 20 years. Why would a person want to file the will with the court while they are still alive? I did not really understand it until I had more life experiences.
First, let’s talk about whether filing your will with the court is even an option. In Texas, there is a whole subchapter in the Estates Code about recording a will at the court. Section 252.001 of the Texas Estates Code states that a person may file the will with the county clerk where the person resides. The person depositing the will can be the testator (owner of the will) or the attorney or other person in possession of the will. To file the will, the clerk shall enclose the will in a sealed wrapper and endorse it with “Will of [name of testator].” The clerk will also record the name and address of the executor named in the will. The clerk will give a certificate of deposit as a receipt of the will.
Keep the Receipt
The testator or another person authorized by the testator can retrieve the will by surrendering the certificate of deposit to the clerk of court. If the certificate is lost, then the clerk will accept an affidavit by the testator. When the clerk is notified of the testator’s death, the clerk will notify the executor of the will and deliver the will to the executor. If the executor cannot be located or the will did not name an executor, then the clerk will notify the beneficiaries of the will.
When It Makes Sense
Going back to my original question of “Why would a person file the will with the court?” it makes sense now that I am older. I can appreciate the fact that a person may sale all their worldly possessions and travel. I can also appreciate the fact that death can bring out the greed in people when it comes to inheritance. There could be numerous other reasons, but with those two issues in mind, a person may want to prevent their will from being lost or stolen. If a person is disinheriting a child or making a distribution that will not be favorable to the person likely to find the will upon your death, then filing the will with the court may be a good idea. If you are retired, sold all your property and traveling around the country or world, then you may not have a permanent place to store your will. So, filing the will with the court may make sense in your situation.
At the Law Office of Hugh Spires, Jr. PLLC we offer free consultations to help our clients determine whether filing the will with court is the best fit them. We also make services convenient by traveling to our clients within 50 miles of San Antonio, Texas. Contact us at hspires@TexasWillsLawyer.com or 210-874-5700 for more information.