What happens if I die without a will?

| Jun 18, 2021 | Probate and Estate Administration |

As previously discussed in this Texas estate planning blog, many individuals do not have estate plans in place. An estate plan is a set of legal documents that outlines a person’s testamentary wishes regarding their care and the distribution of their assets when they die. One of the foundational documents that many individuals include in their estate plans is a will.

When a person dies without a will, their assets and estate property may be distributed based on the intestacy laws of Texas. This post will generally discuss what happens when a person dies without a will, but no reader should interpret its contents as legal advice. Intestacy, estate planning, and other end of life planning matters can be discussed which with trusted estate planning lawyers.

Intestacy laws in Texas

Intestacy laws exist to provide direction for the distribution of assets to beneficiaries after a death. Generally, closely related family members are positioned to inherit as beneficiaries from a person who died without a will. If an unmarried individual dies, their estate will pass to their children or their children’s descendants. If the person dies without a spouse or kids, their estate will pass up to their parents and potentially down to their siblings, nieces, and nephews. Intestacy sends estate beneficiary rights up in down an individual’s family tree.

However, if an individual dies and has a spouse, that spouse will inherit from the estate. Whether the decedent had children will impact how much of their estate will go to their spouse. Questions about intestacy can be directed to estate planning professionals.

How to avoid being subject to the laws of intestacy

If an individual wants to avoid intestacy laws and the outcomes that result from them, they can take control of their estates by creating valid and legal plans for them. There are many different tools that individuals can use to accomplish their end of life and estate planning wishes. Legal professionals who work in the estate planning and administration fields of law can support their clients’ needs and help them prepare estate plans that accomplish their goals.