Understanding Acceptable Documentation to Validate or Contest a Last Will or Testament Under Texas Law

EDITOR’S NOTE

 We handle many contested wills under Texas law. One of the more common initial questions is what constitutes a last will and testament. In this blog post, we explain some of the basics of acceptable documentation under Texas Law.

Is this Document a Last Will and Testament?

When someone who has a duty to pay child support passes away, one of the first questions concerns future child support payments. This issue involves a look at both family and probate law.

Contest a Will Under Texas LawTexas family law provides that future child support payments survive the death of the person who has to pay (“obligor”). This requirement is also included in many divorce decrees and child support orders. So when the obligor passes away, the estate of the obligor is still liable for the amount of the future child support payments. The amount of future payments is calculated by adding up the total payments the obligor would have made if he or she had lived, and then discounting that amount, since the payments will not be paid out over time.

In many circumstances, the obligor will have taken out a life insurance policy from which the child support obligation may be satisfied. If the obligor did not have a life insurance policy at the time of death, then the future child support payments are classified as a claim against the obilgor’s estate. The person who is entitled to receive child support (“obligee”) essentially becomes a creditor of the obligor’s estate. In the Texas Estates Code’s scheme of creditor priority, child support claims enjoy their own priority and are paid from estate proceeds after such expenses as funeral costs, expenses of administration, and payment of secured debt such as mortgages. This priority exists not only for unpaid future child support, but for any unpaid child support arrearages as well.

Editor’s Note

This blog post has explained some of the basic issues surrounding acceptable documents as last will and testaments under Texas law. If you or your family may be facing a contested will under Texas law, please reach out to one of our top Dallas, Texas, estate and probate lawyers for a free consultation. Each situation is unique, and a consultation with one of our attorneys can clarify not only your documentation but whether a will contest may be in the works.