It is better to have a will than to not have one. A valid will is the best way to ensure that your property is distributed the way you wish, and it makes things much easier for your loved ones when they have your detailed and legally binding instructions. Unfortunately, death can come unexpectedly and sometimes a person passes away without a will. How are a person’s assets distributed to their heirs in such situations?
Texas statutes list who is to inherit the deceased’s property if the deceased dies without a will. This is known as intestate succession. For example, if the deceased left behind a spouse, children, grandchildren or other surviving relations, their assets will be distributed to them on a decreasing level of relationship. For example, a surviving spouse in Texas inherits all the couple’s community property and one-third of the deceased’ separate property. The deceased’s children inherit the rest (or grandchildren if the child died first). In the rare event that the deceased has no surviving relations at all, their assets will go to the state.
Probate without a will
If there is no will, an executor will be appointed by the court. The heirs must show that the distribution of the deceased’s assets is appropriate. Debts the deceased left behind come out of their probated estate. The same can be said for court costs. Probate without a will can be a lengthy process, sometimes taking a couple years to complete.
Many prefer to leave a will
Dying without a will can significantly impact your heirs who must go through the difficult process of probate without a will. A will is a basic estate planning document, but it is one that can save your loved ones a lot of headaches once you pass. Executing a will may be preferable to dying without one, so the sooner you act on this task, the better.