Death is a reality that nobody wants to face, but it’s an inevitable part of life. As much as we hate to think about it, it’s important to plan for what happens when we pass away. One of the most critical aspects of this planning is creating a will.
A will is a legal document that outlines how your assets should be distributed after your death. Sadly, many people neglect to create a will, and when they die, their estate ends up in probate. This blog will explore what happens if you die without a will in Texas, state intestacy laws, and the potential consequences of failing to plan.
In Texas, when a person dies without a valid will or trust, their assets will be distributed according to the state’s laws of intestacy. This means that the court will determine how your property is divided up based on a set heir hierarchy.
Generally, this is what would happen:
However, if someone dies without a will and has no spouse or children at the time of death, other family members, such as parents or siblings, may become heirs according to a specific order determined by law.
If you die without a will, your entire estate would have to go through probate — a complicated and stressful legal process — to distribute your assets. This is because, without a written document that outlines your wishes, the state of Texas will determine who inherits from you based on its intestate succession laws.
This can be particularly challenging for those left behind as they try to navigate the probate court system and figure out how to divide up their property. In addition, dying without a will in Texas could result in higher estate taxes being owed.
Therefore, it’s important to take the time now to create an estate plan that includes a legally valid will outlining who should receive what after you pass away.
If you die without a will in Texas, your estate will be distributed according to the legal requirements outlined in the state’s Estate Code. The probate court process involves appointing an executor or administrator to manage and distribute your estate.
This person is responsible for locating and valuing all of your assets and paying off any outstanding debts or taxes before distributing the remaining property to heirs.
If you have specific wishes about how certain assets should be distributed, creating a will is important to ensure those wishes are carried out.
Otherwise, the state’s Estate Code will determine how your assets are distributed among family members based on their relationship with you.
If you don’t have a will in Texas, your dependents may not be provided for in the way you would want them to be. This is especially true if you have young children who would need guardianship arrangements made for them. Without a will, the probate court decides who will care for your children and their assets.
To ensure that your loved ones are taken care of properly after your passing, it is important to make provisions for them in a will or, better, a trust.
Here are three things to consider when providing for dependents:
One effective way to keep your hard-earned assets safe and sound and hand them off to the next generation is through estate planning. Creating a comprehensive estate plan ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you pass away. This includes making a will, setting up trusts, designating beneficiaries for retirement accounts and life insurance policies, and more.
By creating an estate plan that considers inheritance laws and tax implications, you can minimize the risk of disputes over your assets and provide for your loved ones efficiently.
Whether you are settling the estate of a loved one who has passed away without a will or you are planning for the future, hiring an estate planning attorney is critical. A Texas attorney can provide clarity and guidance for your loved ones during the probate or estate planning process.
A good lawyer will help you navigate the complex legal system and ensure your loved one’s assets are distributed fairly. Remember, the lawyer you choose will represent your interests in court and engage with other legal professionals on your behalf. Making a wise choice in this matter is crucial to safeguarding your legacy.
Don’t leave anything to chance regarding your estate planning needs. Seek professional legal advice from Your Legacy Legal Care.
Contact us today for a consultation.
Kimberly Hegwood is the Managing Attorney of Your Legacy Legal Care, a Houston estate planning law firm. With more than 25 years of experience practicing law in Texas, she represents clients in a wide range of legal matters, including elder law, asset protection, estate planning, Medicaid crisis planning, probate, guardianship, and other estate planning practice areas.
Kimberly received her Juris Doctor from the South Texas College of Law and is a member of the State Bar of Texas.
Your Legacy Legal Care