Unfortunately, some people never get around to making a will or living trust before they die. They might have met with a sudden, unexpected death when young or simply procrastinated. After all, no one wants to think about their mortality.
A Texas estate planning attorney can help you create a will or living trust, so you do not die intestate. What does “dying intestate” mean?
The Definition of Intestacy
In Texas, you are intestate if you die without a will or living trust. In that situation, your assets will become your estate and pass to your relatives in the order set forth in the “Intestate Succession” statute of Texas law.
Who Gets Your Money and Assets if You Die Intestate in Texas?
The rules of intestacy depend on which relatives are still alive at the time of your death.
A person who dies with no will or living trust and has a surviving spouse:
- The surviving spouse will receive the entire personal estate if there is no surviving child or child’s descendant and half of the decedent’s land, with the rest getting distributed according to the rules of intestacy.
- If there is at least one living child or child’s descendant, the surviving spouse will receive one-third of the personal estate and a life estate in one-third of the deceased individual’s land. The surviving child or children and descendants of a child or children will receive two-thirds of the personal estate and two-thirds of the land, as well as the surviving spouse’s one-third portion of the land upon the surviving spouse’s death.
A person who has no will or living trust and no surviving spouse:
- The estate of a person who dies intestate with no spouse in our state passes to the person’s children and the descendants of those children.
- If the deceased person has no surviving child or child’s descendant, the estate passes to the decedent’s parents in equal portions.
- When only one parent survives the deceased individual, the estate will get divided into two equal portions, with half going to the surviving parent and the other half to the decedent’s siblings and siblings’ descendants.
- If only one parent survives the deceased individual and there is no surviving sibling or sibling descendant, the surviving parent will inherit the entire intestate estate.
- When no parent survives the deceased individual, the decedent’s siblings and sibling descendants will inherit the entire estate.
These are merely a few of the rules of intestacy. You will want to work with a lawyer to make sure that you comply with the statutory requirements if your close relative dies intestate.
Additional Consequences of Dying Intestate
People might assume that they can save money by not getting a will or living trust, but because it is more expensive for an intestate estate to go through the probate court than one with a will, your estate will likely have to spend far more money on probate expenses than a will or trust would have cost.
Also, it takes longer for an intestate estate to go through probate, so your loved ones will have to wait longer to receive your estate assets if you die without a will. This could cause your family financial hardship.
Finally, the people you would have wanted to inherit from you might not get anything or as much as you would have liked. The rules of intestacy do not care which of your relatives you got along with and which ones you did not like. One last point – you cannot give specific items to specific people without a will or trust.
A Texas estate planning attorney can help you and your loved ones avoid these unwanted consequences of intestacy by drafting a will or living trust for you. Get in touch with our office today, we offer a free consultation.