Articles Posted in Intestate

Although creating a will in Texas may not seem vital in the moment, passing away without having a will in place can have major consequences. Intestate succession laws dictate where a person’s assets and property go if they die without a will. There are many rules surrounding intestate succession. While these are only a few, below are commonly asked questions about what happens when a person passes away without a will or estate plan in place.

What Assets Are Impacted by Intestate Succession?

When a person dies without a will, their assets will go to their closest relatives. However, not all assets are affected by intestate succession laws. These non-affected assets include life insurance proceeds, funds in a retirement account, and property jointly owned. For these assets, they will pass onto the surviving co-owner, or named beneficiary, even when there is no will in place.

A last will and testament, or more commonly referred to as a “will,” is a legal document that provides a person with the opportunity to decide how their property and other assets will be distributed after their death. Under Texas law, if a person does not have a will, their belongings will be subject to Texas intestacy laws, which may be contrary to the person’s actual wishes. A legally binding will is an effective way to ensure that a person’s last wishes are appropriately effectuated. Fortunately, Houston probate courts typically work efficiently to ensure that wills are quickly validated and accomplished.

In some cases, a simple will is enough to distribute assets and belongings, but Texas allows wills to include trust directives and tax-planning assistance. Wills can also include the appointment of guardians to children and pets, asset distribution, and help people avoid real-estate complications. In cases where a person does not create a legally binding will, Texas law dictates that their assets and possessions pass through intestate succession laws.

Under Texas’ intestacy law, intestate succession depends on the deceased’s surviving family members. These are the most common scenarios:

1.23.20If you pass away without naming beneficiaries in your will, it can create legal entanglements for your heirs.

If you decide to purchase a life insurance policy or to put some money into a new deferred annuity contract or Individual Retirement Account (IRA), you need to complete the beneficiary form.

However, Investopedia’s recent article entitled “Why Your Will Should Name Designated Beneficiaries” says that you may just name a person as a beneficiary, without fully appreciating this aspect of your estate planning.

6.10.19Despite early reports that she had no will, it seems the Queen of Soul spent a fair amount of time creating three wills to provide for her four sons and leaving behind some strong opinions of the people in her circles. She just didn’t share those wills with her attorney.

When Aretha Franklin died of pancreatic cancer last August, it seemed that she had joined the ranks of  many celebrities who never created their wills or thought much about what they wanted their legacy to be.

The Detroit News’s recent article, “Handwritten wills found in Aretha Franklin home favor her four sons” reports that three handwritten wills have been discovered in one of her homes.

9.28.18The big buzz about Aretha Franklin is the gold-plated casket, the Christian Louboutin patent leather shoes and the fact that she died without a will.

The Queen of Soul’s four sons have filed a document that lists themselves as “interested parties” in her estate, according to an article from cbs.com titled “Report: Aretha Franklin left no will.”

A document that was said to have been filed with the Oakland County Probate Court in Michigan and signed by her son Kecalf and her estate attorney David Bennett noted the absence of a will.

9.5.18There’s a saying about people who don’t have an estate plan created. They have a will, it’s just not the one that they want. Decisions are made by the state, and that includes who raises their kids.

If you’ve got young children under the age 18, says CNBC in a recent article, “You don’t have to be wealthy to put this estate plan into place,” you really need to make sure that you have a will. That’s where you can convey your wishes as to who should raise your children, in case tragedy hits and both you and your spouse are not able to.

If you die without a will, you won’t have the opportunity to designate the guardian you want to care for your minor children. Instead, a judge will decide this. It may be someone you really never considered for that essential responsibility.

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