Articles Tagged with Intestate

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:

Couple holding handsWhen most people think of wills and estate plans, they usually think about the primary function of distributing assets to children. The natural next thought is, if they have no children, then they don't need a will. But estate plans, and especially wills, actually serve a number of important purposes, only one of which is conveying assets to children.

As U.S. News & World Report points out in, "No Kids? You Still Need an Estate Plan," people without children need, at the very least, to have a will if they want to have a say in who gets their assets after they pass away.

People who pass away without a will are said to have died intestate. Every state has a law that determines who gets the assets of people who die intestate. The laws all operate similarly, in that the assets are given to the person's closest living relatives.

WheelbarrowThus far, many people have attempted to establish a link – none have been successful. If no one claims the inheritance in 30 years, the money goes to the British crown.

No will or other estate planning documents could be found for Kathleen Hilda Ryan, who passed away in Greenwhich, United Kingdom in 2013 with an estate valued at $788,000. She had inherited the bulk of it from her sister, Joan.

Kathleen had no children of her own and no living siblings.

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