Lifehacker’s Article on How to Create a Will (with edits by The Weaver Firm)

Recently, Kristin Wong at Lifehacker wrote a helpful article titled “How to Create a Will.” The attorney at the Weaver Firm took the time to dissect her article and add some helpful tips. We hope you enjoy.

“What Is a Will?

A will (or “last will and testament”) is a document that spells out what should happen to your assets after you die. It also designates guardianship of your children (and ownership of your pets), so even if you don’t own a bunch of property or have a bunch of assets, it’s a good idea to have a will.”

This is one of the best descriptions of why someone needs a Will I’ve ever seen. A Will covers any of your assets not designated with beneficiaries. This includes bank accounts, houses, vehicles, even pets. The next section deals with DIY Wills. The author lists some good reasons and options for drafting your own Will. The simplest way to create your own Will is to handwrite a Will and sign the Will at the bottom. Now I know what you are thinking . . . why would I give you advice on drafting your own Will when I do this for a living? The point of this website is to give you tools to live by. We’d love you to come to us with your Estate Planning questions, but we understand that isn’t always an option.

The author adds a great quote from a law school professor regarding DIY Wills and why you should avoid them:

“Three DIY will-making products—LegalZoom, Rocket Lawyer and Quicken WillMaker Plus—were evaluated on a number of quality measures by a law school professor who specializes in estates and trusts. He found that all three produced wills that are better than having no will at all and can be good for thinking about estate planning…but there were problems inherent with all of the DIY products if you have anything but very simple will-making needs. For example, two had outdated information. Also, some specific tax and trust issues couldn’t be handled by the software… If you have dependents, special tax issues, want to address digital assets, or just want to make sure your will is as comprehensive as can be, your best bet is to consult a lawyer.”

You can count on the Weaver Firm to stay up to date on the latest changes to the law and how it affects you.


Here are the author’s things to expect when you meet with an Attorney about a Will(with a few choice edits from me): 

“Pick an executor: This is the person who handles your property, assets, and everything else after you die. They won’t have control until after you go, but at that time, a probate court will give them power. Obviously, you want this person to be someone you trust to handle your affairs, maybe your spouse or one of your children.”

The Weaver Firm Addition: This person has a duty to gather your assets and follow the terms of the Will. Your Will can name someone as Independent Executor or Dependent. Independent Executors act without further Probate Court interference. Dependent Executors must submit their actions to the Probate Court prior to taking ANY action with the Estate.

“Designate your beneficiaries: The people who will inherit your assets — everything from your retirement savings to your person possessions — are called beneficiaries, and you want to designate them for everything you own. If you have pets, they’re considered property in your will, and you’ll designate who will inherit them, too. (Keep in mind, though, beneficiaries are not legally required to take care of pets, so you want to clear this with the person beforehand).”

The Weaver Firm Addition: If you really need help planning for Pets, check out our article about Planning for Pooches. The author raises one important point.

“If there’s someone in your family you want to make sure doesn’t receive anything, experts say you should detail that, too. As one estate planning attorney told U.S. News:

“Name that person and say that they aren’t getting anything,” Colby advises. “Otherwise, the implication could be that you forgot about them, and you could find your will challenged in court.'”

The Weaver Firm Addition: We always recommend naming all of your children in your Will, even if you are disinheriting them. A simple omission now could lead to years of litigation down the road.

As the author winds up her article, she includes two last points which I found very helpful.

Add a letter: If you want to say something to your loved ones after you die, write a “last letter” and attach it to your will.”

The Weaver Firm Addition: We even recommend sitting down and discussing your Estate plan with your family. Let the Executor know what his or her duties are. Let the guardians know why you named them as guardians for your children. Often, an honest discussion between family members (preferably NOT around the holidays) can avoid future issues.

    Get witnesses to sign your will: Finally, in order for your will to be legally binding, you need witnesses. Usually, this means you need two signatures from people who aren’t listed as beneficiaries. A notary might be the best person for this, although it’s not required.”

The Weaver Firm Addition: This is the only section, I wanted to clarify from the article. In Texas, a Will needs two independent witnesses (witnesses who are not beneficiaries or “interested” in the Estate) to sign in the presence of the Testator (the person whose Will we drafted) and in the presence of a notary public. If you are feeling extra efficient, include a self proving affidavit to avoid bringing witnesses to Probate Court down the road.

All in all, this article, written by a non lawyer, is pretty solid advice. Our job at the Weaver Firm is to go above and beyond average advice. If you have questions about Wills and Estate Planning, call our office at 817.638.9016 or email us at


Bowie Knives and Saving Lives!

Based on the sign in front of this statue, this Bowie Knife is the largest of its kind in the world. In similar news, Travis attended the largest health fair in Bowie, Texas held in the last week. If you are impressed, you should be. At this fair, Travis learned important tips about safety in emergency situations like leaving your car running if you are trapped to make sure the airbags deploy. This fair also showcased many senior care options in and around Wise and Montague County.

 Travis also had the opportunity to make a short speech about the four documents you should have right now . . . and here they are:

  1.      Last Will and Testament
  2.      Medical Power of Attorney (with HIPAA language)
  3.      Financial Power of Attorney (use the new Texas form)
  4.      Physicians Directive a.k.a. Living Will

If you don’t have these documents or if your documents are older than your current car, call our office at 817.638.9016, or send us an email at to schedule an appointment. Make sure you sign up for our newsletter below to keep up with the latest and greatest legal news you and your family need to know.


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The Weaver Firm 2017 Trip Across Texas

Last week, Rick and Travis had the pleasure of traveling from the Red River all the way down to Galveston on a working vacation. The attorneys started their journey with a short stop in Muenster to enjoy some unseasonably cool weather in the Red River Valley.

After that short break, the attorneys traveled down to Galveston to attend the 19th Annual Estate Planning, Guardianship and Elder Law Conference.

At this conference, the Weavers learned about changes to the law regarding Medicaid, Probate, and Long Term Care Planning and how they will affect you, the clients in 2017 and beyond. The current political climate promises to shake things up in the legal world. Rest assured, the Weaver Firm is up to date on the most current laws and regulations affecting our areas of practice. We are even willing to drive hundreds of miles for it.

 Stay tuned for a back to school special article regarding everything you ever wanted to know about when estate planning and back to school planning meet. Expect fireworks.

If you enjoyed this update or want to learn more about Elder Law and Estate Planning, be sure to sing up for our newsletter at the link below:

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Why Your Estate Plan Shouldn’t be Older than Your Car

The average age of a car in America is 11.5 years. Think of your own life and what’s changed in the last 11 years. Gotten married? Had children or grandchildren? Adopted a pet? Maybe you won the lottery or started a successful business. If you haven’t looked at your estate planning documents lately, now is the time. This Wall Street Journal Article shares some helpful stories about the dangers of waiting to update an Estate plan.

If you need to update your Estate plan, create a new plan, or just have questions about Wills in general, contact our office today.

817.638.9016 or email


How the Medicaid Debate Affects You

In case you’ve been living under rock…Medicaid is a hot button issue to say the least. Here is an interesting article about long term care insurance and Medicaid and how they affect one another. The average cost of one month of nursing home or memory care in America is over $5,000.00.

If you have questions or concerns about Medicaid or long term care planning in this uncertain political climate, please give our office a call at 817.638.9016 or email us at

Why Medicaid Matters to Texans

As Bob Dylan once said, “the times they are a-changin‘.”

The New York Times recently published an article with an excellent story about how long term care planning (insurance in the article) can help ease the burden of long term care on your loved ones

For our reading averse visitors, the article explains how long term care insurance can help save thousands of dollars per year in long term care expenses. Since the average nursing home bill is North of $5,000.00 a month in 2017 and the baby boomers (second largest generation of Americans) are entering the later phase of their lives, simple logic would dictate a huge increase in those needing long term care. 

Consider insurance and consider speaking to one of our attorneys about long term care planning. 

817.638.9016 or

The Weaver Firm, PC featured in the Texas Bar Journal

Have you ever wondered how to protect your home from a Medicaid claim? Today is your lucky day. Check out this short Texas Bar Journal article on what steps to take to prevent Medicaid recovery claims against you or your loved ones.

“Home Sweet Home: Making Sense of Medicaid Recovery”

As always, contact our office for help with Medicaid claims and other Probate issues.


Call 817.638.9016 or email at

Amarillo By Morning

May 11, 2017

Rick and Travis had the pleasure of attending the Amarillo Area Estate Planning Council 2017 Institute. If you look closely, you might even recognize one of the speakers. Rick spoke on Long Term Care Planning Including Medicaid and VA Aid and Attendance. Check out this great West Texas organization and be sure to attend next year if you are in the panhandle. If you would like to learn more about your long term care planning options, be sure to contact our office at (817) 638-9016 or at

Planning for Pooches (or Cats, Turtles, Birds, etc.)

July 14, 2017

Let me start with a hypothetical. I and my wife, Brittany, are traveling over the summer. Possibly, we are enjoying a beach in Florida or maybe some cooler air in Colorado. All of the sudden, tragedy strikes. Our pets, Arnold and Sally the Frenchies, are left at home in limbo between a mix of family members, friends, and neighbors. If your pets are anything like ours, they aren’t exactly low maintenance and they certainly aren’t cheap. This article is what you NEED TO KNOW about planning for your pets at death.

Five tried and true methods exist for planning for pets. Here they are ranked from best to worst for your reading pleasure.

  1. Pet Trust created under a Will
    • Pros
      • Statutorily Approved in Texas
      • Tailored to your wishes
      • Can be extremely detailed
    • Cons
      • Must be in a valid Will
      • Slightly more complicated to set up
  2. Bequest to Named Individual in Will
    • Pros
      • Simple
      • Can be detailed if followed
      • Specific amount or percentage of Estate
    • Cons
      • No guarantee that money is used for pets
  3. Bequest to Caretaker at Discretion of Executor
    • Pros
      • Gives the Executor flexibility depending on the pet and the caregiver
      • Flexibility as to amount depending on the pet (see: Arnold and Sally, aka money vacuums)
    • Cons
      • Executor may or may not understand needs of the Pet
      • Person selected may not be a good fit for caregiving
  4. Bequest to Charity with conditional language
    • Pros
      • Avoids complexity of Trust included in Will
      • Double benefit of pet protection and charitable gift
    • Cons
      • Charity might dissolve
      • Trusting your pets to strangers
  5. Creation of Inter Vivos (between living people) Trust for Pets
    • Pros
      • You dictate terms of Trust and amount gifted to Trust
      • Guarantees the Trust is funded before your death
    • Cons
      • Trust accounting and separate accounts
      • Added expense of Trust creation

If you have questions about planning for your pets or even your family members, be sure to give the Weaver Firm, PC a call at (817) 638-2022 or send me an email at No pets or lawyers were harmed in this photo.