Decatur Family Law and Probate Attorney

Leaving without a will means Texas determines your final wishes

On Behalf of | Dec 13, 2019 | probate administration

The state of Texas could gain control of your estate when you leave your family without a valid will. Regardless of what your last wishes may be, probate law has its own ideas for where your assets are heading.

When you don’t leave behind a valid will outlining your final wishes, the state of Texas will enter your estate into the intestacy probate process. The process will see your assets divided into categories like real property or personal property and community property and separate property. Once the designations are complete, your family tree will typically determine who gets what.

Branching paths

In the intestacy process, your assets will go winding through the family tree until they land where the state has determined appropriate:

  • Your spouse will generally be first in line to inherit your assets. A share of community property, real estate, and your personal property could head their way.
  • Your children will follow, likely receiving the balance of your estate after your spouse has their portion. If you aren’t survived by a spouse, then your children move to the front.
  • Your parents will probably be next up. Your mother and father could get equal portions between them if there isn’t a benefactor ahead of them.
  • In the case of just one parent, the state will typically split your estate all the same. One half will go to the parent, and the other chunk could go to any siblings or their dependents.
  • If there are no parents in the picture, then the bulk of the estate may pass to your siblings or their family.
  • When none of these options apply, your assets will likely travel through your parent’s lines until they land on family.

A valid will can be crucial to direct your assets where you want, within the family tree or otherwise. Your final wishes probably won’t come into play if Texas gets its hands on your intestate estate.