Where to Find Texas Legal Forms Online

Q I once read an article where you were telling someone how to get Texas legal forms online, and I need that information now. I tried to get a form for a power of attorney and for an executor, but was unsuccessful. I would appreciate your help.

They have a set of estate planning forms that you can create yourself without having to hire a lawyer. The documents they offer include an Enduring Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, Physician Directive (also called a Living Will), and HIPAA Authorization. You can also write a transfer on death certificates.

From your question, it’s unclear what kind of form you’re trying to find for an executor, but it sounds like you’re looking for “letters will”. However, you cannot obtain letters of testament online. You have to go to court and have the deceased person’s will probated, which almost always requires hiring a lawyer. You may be able to find some of the forms needed for probate, but using them correctly and going to court to appear before a judge is not easy.

When a person dies and their will names someone to serve as executor, that person must file certain documents with the proper court, attend a hearing, and do many other things to properly administer the estate.

The court will issue ‘Letters of Testament’ once the will has been admitted for probate, and this is the form the executor will use to close accounts and sell properties.

Q My will was damaged by a flood in our house caused by a broken water pipe. The words on the pages are still partly legible, but the page where the witnesses, the notary and I all signed is faded and almost impossible to read. Is my will still valid or do I have to sign another one? I have a scanned copy of the pre-flood will. Is this copy as good as the original?

A. Your will is still valid even if it has been damaged. The digital copy can also be printed and probated after your death, if necessary.

Without an original will in good condition, however, probating the will can be more difficult after your death. For example, the judge may require additional witnesses to testify in court, or someone who doesn’t like the terms of your will may have an easier time challenging it.

Therefore, it would be a good idea for you to sign the will again in order to have a clean original. If you hired a lawyer to prepare the will, see if they can reprint the form so you can sign it again.

The information in this column is intended to provide a general understanding of the law, not legal advice. Ronald Lipman of the law firm of Houston Lipman & Associates is certified in Estate Planning and Inheritance Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Email your questions to [email protected]

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