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If you’re reading this, then you’re probably wondering what would happen if there is contradictory language in a Texas will. The answer isn’t as simple as you might think. In fact, it depends on a number of factors, including the type of contradictions and the specific wording of the will. That being said, there are some general principles that can guide you through this process. So if you’re curious about what would happen if there is contradictory language in a Texas will, read on for more information.

What is a will?

In order to understand what a will is, it is first important to understand the difference between a last will and testament and a living will. A last will and testament is a legal document that allows an individual to control how their assets will be distributed after they die. A living will, on the other hand, is a legal document that allows an individual to control how their medical care should be handled if they are unable to make those decisions for themselves.

Now that you know the difference between these two types of wills, it is important to understand what a will actually is. A will is simply a document that contains the wishes of an individual regarding their assets and/or estate. These wishes can be as simple or as complex as the individual desires. In most cases, a will must be signed by the individual in order to be legally binding.

It is also important to note that a will does not have to be filed with the court in order to be valid. However, if an individual wants to ensure that their wishes are carried out exactly as they desire, it is generally advisable to file the will with the court. This gives the court oversight of the distribution of assets and can help resolve any disputes that may arise regarding the contents of the will.

What are the requirements for a valid will in Texas?

In order for a will to be valid in Texas, it must be in writing and signed by the testator (the person making the will) in the presence of two witnesses. The witnesses cannot be related to the testator or married to each other. The will must also be dated.

If the will is not signed by the witnesses, it is still valid if it is proved that the testator intended for the document to be his or her will. This can be done through testimony of one of the witnesses or other evidence.

If there is any contradictory language in the will, such as crossed out words or paragraphs, then Texas courts will try to interpret the will in a way that gives effect to all of the testator’s wishes. If this is not possible, then any provision that contradicts another provision will be void.

What happens if there is contradictory language in a will?

If you find contradictory language in a will, it is best to consult with an attorney to determine the best course of action. In some cases, the court may be able to resolve the issue. However, if the court is unable to do so, the will may be declared invalid.

Texas Case Law

When it comes to interpreting the language of a will, Texas courts will give deference to the testator’s intent as expressed in the document. However, if there is contradictory language in the will, the court may look to extrinsic evidence to determine the testator’s intent.

If you are facing a situation where there is conflicting language in a will, it is important to seek out experienced legal help. An experienced attorney can review the document and help you understand how the court is likely to interpret it. With this knowledge, you can make informed decisions about how to proceed.

Stanley v. Henderson, 139 Tex. 160, 162 S.W.2d 95 (1942).

Holographic will: A holographic will is written wholly in the testator’s handwriting.

Facts and Procedural History

When L. N. Stanley died, he left Jim Henderson to be his independent executor and his will left two paragraphs pertaining to the executor’s payment. The fifth paragraph stated “Five years shall be taken to wind up my estate, distributing about 1/5 annually among them, and longer if necessary to preserve same from dissipation and waste, my executor to draw his pay in some five annual installments.” The ninth paragraph stated “The sum of 1 ½ thousand dollars shall in three installments of five hundred dollars each be taken by my executor as compensation for his services contingent upon faithful and honest discharge of services.” 

When L. N. was executing his will he was informed that if he was silent on the compensation to the executor then the statutory laws would apply, which give the executor a five percent commission. The question is therefore whether the Testator wrote the paragraphs to draft around the statutory laws or if the Testator included them to add to the statutory law.

 J. M. Stanley, an heir of L. N., contends that the paragraphs mean that Henderson retains $1,500 and no more. He also contends that Henderson should be removed as executor and a receiver should be appointed. Henderson contends that they meant that in addition to the $1,500, he gets five percent commissions. The trial court held for J.M. And appointed a receiver to distribute funds for the estate. Henderson appealed and the court held that L. N. Meant to guarantee Henderson at least $1,500 and to give him a straight five percent commission. J. M. Appealed the court’s decision. 

The original will was brought up as circumstantial evidence. Since the will was holographic L. N. Was able to strike through and change the document several times. The various changes are what caused ambiguity and conflicting paragraphs. The court held that since paragraph nine was written later than the fifth and it was more specific, it will control over the fifth paragraph. Therefore, the court held that there was no ambiguity in what the testator wanted. It stated that L. N. clearly expressed that he wanted Henderson to take $1,500 for compensation and nothing more. Henderson has already taken $7,889.25 from the estate. This is $6,332.04 more than he was supposed to take. He had not made any contention that he would return the funds if the court did not weigh in his favor. The court therefore held that since Henderson is withholding money belonging to the estate, the district court was right in appointing a receiver.  

Main Consideration

If there are two conflicting paragraphs in a will, which applies?

The paragraph that was written later and is more specific will apply.

Takeaway

Stanley v. Henderson shows that if there are conflicting paragraphs in a will, the paragraph that was written later and is more specific will apply.

How can you avoid having contradictory language in your will?

If you are drafting your own will, it is important to be as clear and concise as possible to avoid any confusion or ambiguity. If there is any doubt as to your intentions, it is likely that the court will interpret the language in your will in a way that is most favorable to the person or persons who would inherit under intestate succession laws.

When including specific bequests in your will, be sure to use language that cannot be interpreted in more than one way. For example, if you want to leave a specific item to a specific person, do not say “I leave my car to my son.” Instead, say “I leave my 2002 Honda Accord with VIN number 1234567890 to my son John Smith.”

It is also important to be consistent throughout your will. If you refer to your daughter as “Sarah” in one section and “Sara” in another, this could create confusion and cause problems down the road. If you have any doubts about whether or not you are using consistent language throughout your will, it is best to consult with an attorney who can help ensure that your document is legally valid and effective.

Conclusion

If you’re dealing with a will in Texas that contains contradictory language, it’s important to understand how the state deals with these situations. In general, the court will try to resolve any contradictions in the will so that the intent of the testator is carried out. However, if there is no clear way to resolve the contradiction, then the court may simply disregard the conflicting provision altogether. This can result in some unexpected outcomes, so it’s always best to consult with an attorney if you’re dealing with a will that contains contradictory language.

Do you need an Experienced Probate Attorney to help?

It is not uncommon for there to be contradictory language in a Texas will. This can happen for a number of reasons, including when the will is not properly executed or when it is unclear what the testator intended. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to seek out the help of an experienced probate attorney.

An experienced probate attorney will be able to help you interpret the contradictions in the will and determine what the testator’s intent was. They can also help you navigate the probate process and make sure that your rights are protected. If you are dealing with a complex estate, an experienced probate attorney can be invaluable.

If you have been named as an executor in a will with contradictory language, or if you are simply inheritance beneficiary, contact an experienced probate attorney today to discuss your options. Call us today for a FREE attorney consultation. (281) 219-9090.

https://houston-probate-law.com/

What makes a will null and void in Texas?

In Texas, there are a few specific circumstances that will make a will null and void.

If the will was not properly executed, it will be invalid. A valid will in Texas must be in writing, signed by the testator (the person making the will), and witnessed by two disinterested parties. If any of these requirements are not met, the court will declare the will invalid.

If the testator lacked capacity to make a will at the time it was executed, the court may also declare it invalid. To have capacity to make a will in Texas, a person must be 18 years of age or older and of sound mind. Sound mind means that the person must understand they are making a will, know the nature and extent of their property, and know who their natural heirs are. If it is found that the testator did not have capacity at the time their will was executed, the court may declare it invalid.

If the testator was forced or coerced into making their will, it may also be found invalid by a court. For example, if someone threatens to hurt or kill the testator unless they include them in their will, that would be considered coercion. Wills that are procured by fraud or duress are also usually found to be invalid.

What could invalidate a will in Texas?

If a will in Texas contains contradictory language, it may be invalidated. For example, if a will states that all of the testator’s assets are to be divided equally among their children, but then goes on to state that one child is to receive a larger share of the estate, this contradiction could invalidate the will.

Another example of contradictory language that could invalidate a will in Texas is if the will states that all of the testator’s assets are to be given to their spouse, but then goes on to state that some of the assets are to be given to someone else.

If there is any contradictory language in a will in Texas, it is best to consult with an experienced attorney to determine whether or not the contradictions will invalidate the entire will.

What makes a will invalid in Texas?

In Texas, a will must be in writing and must be signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses. The witnesses must also sign the will. If these requirements are not met, the will is not valid.

A will can also be invalid if it contains contradictory language. For example, if a person leaves their entire estate to one beneficiary and then later in the will states that another beneficiary should receive part of the estate, this contradictory language can invalidate the entire will.

If there is any doubt as to whether a will is valid, it is best to consult with an attorney who can review the document and advise on its validity.

When is a contract ambiguous in Texas?

If there is contradictory language in a Texas will, the court will attempt to resolve the ambiguity by looking at the testator’s intent. If the court cannot determine the testator’s intent, then the will is void and the estate will be distributed according to the laws of intestate succession.

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