What Happens to Your Assets if You Die Without a Will in Texas?

What Happens to Your Assets if You Die Without a Will in Texas?

Imagine you spent years building a firm financial foundation—raising children, accumulating assets, and purchasing real estate. You worked hard to provide for your loved ones not only during your life but after you passed. But then the unthinkable happens.

Without warning, you suffer an untimely death. And when your family reviews your affairs, they discover you never drafted a last will and testament. Despite an intention to leave certain specific distributions and to make additional distributions to loved ones, none of your final wishes are legally binding.

This scenario plays out far too often in Texas. Nearly two out of three people do not have a will in place. When a person dies “intestate” like this, their assets enter probate and are subject to predetermined inheritance laws and not the wishes of the person. Oftentimes, the results undermine the deceased’s intent and spark bitter disputes among friends, children, and grandchildren.

At Marx Law Firm, we’ve seen firsthand the damage dying without proper estate planning can do to a family. When the state steps in to decide who inherits your property, things rarely align with what you would have wanted.

Texas Probate Courts Take Control When You Die Without a Will

The simplest definition of a will is a document by which a person directs his or her estate to be distributed upon death. A Texas resident generally may devise or bequeath property at death through the creation and execution of a will. Absent a will, the laws of intestacy (meaning without a will) of the state of Texas dictate the manner of disposition of assets at death among the decedent’s immediate family or more remote relatives.

The specific laws probate courts follow are spelled out in the Texas Estates Code. This exhaustive legal guidebook details everything from property classification to inheritance rights of relatives. Executors must adhere to its arcane rules as they divide up estates.

Guidance from a probate attorney during this process is crucial. Yet many families opt to go it alone, only to end up lost in this overwhelming system. They struggle arranging appraisals, meeting rigid deadlines, and shouldering heavy court fees. All while mourning their loved one.

Don’t let your family fall into this avoidable mess.

What Happens to Your Home?

For many Texas families, real estate makes up most of an estate’s value. And when it comes to inheriting your home without a will in place, Lone Star State laws take some unique turns.

If you pass away leaving behind a spouse but no children, your surviving husband or wife usually retains 100% ownership of your primary shared home no matter if it was separate or community property.

However, things get complicated when you have living children or other descendants as well at the time of death. Their intestate inheritance rights become a factor.

Say you purchased your Texas home before getting married using separate funds. If you die without a will, leaving behind a spouse and kids, your surviving husband or wife would usually only have the right of occupancy. They cannot sell or transfer the home. And upon their death, full ownership would transfer entirely to your children.

The variations are endless and quite confusing. Having customized guidance from a knowledgeable probate attorney makes all the difference in strategically passing on property.

Don’t Let This Happen To You – Contact Our Estate Planning Attorneys

Hopefully, by now, we’ve opened your eyes to the consequences stemming from inadequate estate planning in Texas. Without instructions in the form of a customized last will and testament or trust, you surrender all control.

The state steps in like a ruthless taskmaster, obedient only to the Estates Code, regardless of your wishes. All the while, your grieving family members struggle through a lengthy public court process that often leaves no one fully satisfied.

Spare your loved ones this pain by working with Marx Law Firm to create a comprehensive estate plan today. Our team of battle-tested probate attorneys has guided countless Texas clients through complex inheritance disputes. Now, we want to help you properly safeguard your legacy while you still can.

With customized guidance tailored to your unique family dynamics, we’ll ensure your estate transfers smoothly when the time comes. Contact our office now to schedule a consultation. The relief that comes with having a personalized plan in place is beyond measure for both you and those you hold dear.

Author Bio

Brad Marx
Discover How Our Experienced Attorneys in Frisco, TX Can Guide You Through the Preserving Your Legacy & Protecting Your Family
When it comes to safeguarding your legacy and ensuring your loved ones are protected, you need an estate planning law firm that understands the complexities and nuances of the process. At Marx Law Firm, we have been empowering families and individuals to craft their legacies with confidence for over 10 years.