What Happens if You Leave Items Out of a Texas Will?

As a general rule, it is best to be as thorough as possible when drafting your estate plan. Your plan should include any significant assets you own, and it should be as specific as possible. There are times, however, when decedents unintentionally leave items out of their wills. Today, we cover what might happen when your loved ones discover you have left something important out of your will in the state of Texas.

The Residuary Clause

If you leave items out of your will, your assets can still be well protected if your will includes a residuary clause. The residuary clause is a “catch all” provision at the end of the will that covers any additional property or assets that your will did not specifically name. Your clause could, for example, state that any property not mentioned in the will should go to your children, to your spouse, to your parents, or to a loved one. The clause should intentionally be phrased to encompass a broad range of assets, i.e. all of the assets included in your estate, except those mentioned in the will.

Rules of Intestacy

Without this residuary clause, the remainder of your estate will be subject to intestacy laws in Texas. Intestacy laws are the rules of the state, and they provide a specific order of inheritance for your assets. The probate court is responsible for figuring out which parts of your will are “up for grabs” and are therefore subject to intestacy. Through intestacy, your assets could end up with a relative that you did not intend to benefit from inheritance.

Intrafamily Fighting

It’s also possible that without a residuary clause, your relatives could be left to fight over the assets you’ve left behind. If, for example, you have a bank account that you did not include in your will, and you do not have a residuary clause, your children might try to lay claim over that account. The feuds that can take place in probate court are often difficult to navigate, and it is always better to leave things as simple and straightforward as possible for your loved ones in the future.

Do You Need a Houston Estate Planning Attorney for You or a Loved One?

At McCulloch & Miller, we understand the value of approaching each will thoroughly and with a detail-oriented mindset. We take the pressure off you by using our expertise to ensure you’ve gone through every possible scenario for your assets. By providing step-by-step guidance, we ensure our clients are well taken care of, both in the short-term and the long-term future. Our attorneys have decades of experience in the field, and we are eager to leverage our experience for your advantage. If you would like to set up a meeting with one of our Houston estate planning attorneys, give us a call as soon as possible at 713-936-9073. You can also fill out our online form to tell us about yourself and have a member of our team reach back out to you as soon as possible regarding your estate planning needs.


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