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What happens to your estate when there is no will?

On Behalf of | Dec 6, 2022 | Estate Planning

Many people know they should have a will but finding the time to make one can be hard and no one really likes to think about their own death.

Still, it is important to bite the bullet and execute a will. If not, Texas law will oversee the distribution of your estate and it may not lead to the conclusion you would have liked.

Probate when there is no will

If you die without a will, this is called dying “intestate.” When a person in Texas dies intestate, the court will choose the administrator of their estate.

The administrator of your estate moves your estate through the probate process. Probate is the process in which your assets are collected, debts and taxes paid, and your assets are passed on to your heirs.

It is possible that the administrator chosen by the court is someone who does not want the role, does not know you well or will incur significant expense in probating your estate — expenses that come out of your estate assets.

Inheritance when there is no will

Without a will saying who is to inherit what, your assets will pass on to your relations per Texas intestacy laws. Who inherits what depends in part on whether your assets are community property or separate property.

It is possible that your surviving spouse will inherit all community property. But it is also possible that your children will receive a portion of your property if you have no surviving spouse, etc.

If you die intestate, you do not get to choose your heirs. This could leave many of your loved ones out in the cold.

Advantages to a will

As this shows, there are advantages to executing a will.

You can name whom you want to administer your estate in your will. This may be someone who is more capable and willing to perform these duties than a person appointed by the court.

You can decide who is to inherit your assets in your will. It is likely that you have many loved ones beyond your spouse and children if you have them whom you would like to leave something to. All of these bequests can be cemented in a will.

You may have put off making your will, but you really should not wait any longer. Get your wishes officially down on paper so you can rest assured they will be met when the time comes.