Thinking of your own death is an uncomfortable feeling for most people. Furthermore, writing a will may seem arduous and intimidating, which is why many people put it off.
Unfortunately, dying without a will in Texas can have devastating consequences for surviving family members. Intestacy succession laws determine the division of your property if you die without a will.
If you’re married
Your spouse will get your portion of the marital assets (unless you have children from a previous relationship in which case it will go to them).
Your spouse will also receive one-third of your personal assets, with the other two-thirds going to any children resulting from your marriage.
If you’re not married
Your kids will inherit everything. If you don’t have any (or a spouse), the court will look for other relatives, such as parents, siblings, nieces and nephews.
Not only will the court determine how your assets are divided, but your estate will also have to go through probate. A court-appointed administrator would be responsible for paying final expenses and creditors, determining the rightful heirs and distributing the remainder of the estate among them.
Fortunately, your surviving spouse and any minor children have homestead rights. This allows them to stay in the family home until the spouse dies or moves out.
By not having a will, you allow the state of Texas to distribute your assets in a way you may not want. The only way to dictate who will inherit your estate is by creating a will and appointing an executor. A will also allows you to name a guardian if you have minor children.
While death is unpleasant to think about, planning for it is crucial. By creating a will, you are ensuring your loved ones will be cared for after you are gone.