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What if I die without an estate plan in Texas?

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2023 | Firm News |

Texans pride themselves on being prepared for every eventuality in their business, their education and their personal lives. It is a fundamental part of being a resident of the Lone Star State. However, there are times when people do not take the necessary steps in time and they leave certain documents unfinished or fail to create them to begin with.

This can be especially problematic with estate planning. Those who do not have even a basic estate plan can leave their loved ones wondering what they will do. Failure to have a will is known as dying intestate. The person who died – known as the decedent – who has failed to put their wishes in writing should know what state law says will happen to their property in these circumstances.

Who gets what if a person dies without an estate plan?

According to state law, the person’s situation at the time of their death will dictate how their property is distributed if they did not have an estate plan. If they did not have a spouse but had children, it will pass to them.

Those who had no children but still had living parents will have their property passed to the parents. If one parent is still alive, then a portion of their estate will go to one parent with the other going to siblings or their descendants. The process goes step-by-step depending on their family circumstances.

Those who had a spouse at the time of their death and had property apart from community property that was shared as part of the marriage will see it split differently. If they had children, the spouse left behind takes one-third of their estate while two-thirds will go to their children and their descendants. Regarding land, the spouse will get one-third while the rest goes to their children or the children’s descendants.

When there are no children, the spouse gets the entire personal estate. The spouse also gets half the land with the rest of the land going to relatives like parents, siblings and grandparents. Community property goes to the surviving spouse if there are no children or the surviving children are products of the relationship.

Estate planning can be made easier with the right help

It might be intimidating and worrisome to create an estate plan. Some are prone to leaving it until later as they function under the impression that they have plenty of time to take care of it. Younger people are vulnerable to this belief, but it can happen to older people too. Regardless of the circumstances, not having a will is a common misstep that can cause a litany of problems.

Consulting with qualified and experienced professionals who care about their clients is a vital first step to getting everything in order. Dying intestate has the potential to cause disputes among family members – something most people want to avoid.

The documents that can be put in effect through an estate plan can address finances, a business, sentimental items, real estate and more. It can also detail what the person wants through powers of attorney and health care directives if they cannot make decisions on their own.