Many Texas residents who encounter probate court are coming into the situation with more questions than answers. After all, it is a rare occurrence, for most people, to find themselves with the need to navigate their way through the probate process more than once or twice – if at all – in their lives. It is important for anyone who is facing probate issues to start with a basic understanding of the legal terms they may encounter.
One term that many people hear in the probate process is “dying intestate.” This legal term is actually quite straightforward: to die intestate means a person died without a valid will. Without a will in place, the distribution of the person’s estate must be determined by Texas state law.
In some situations, it might not matter if a person had a will or not – the distribution of the estate would probably have been the same no matter what. This is quite common when the assets in the estate are relatively minor. However, there are many situations in which a person might not want the distribution of the estate to follow the dictates of state law. In those situations, the instructions in a will – as long as the will is valid – are what determines how the estate is distributed.
If you are thinking about estate planning or you are facing the probate process with quite a few questions, be sure to determine how the intestate laws in Texas might impact your legal situation. Understanding the basics is a crucial first step.