Search Site
Menu

Dying Intestate

I have heard, and even said, the following: “You have a Will even if you didn’t know it.  The State of Texas wrote it for you.”  Texas law provides the freedom for individuals to choose how their estate is distributed at death by executing a valid Last Will and Testament.  When a person dies in Texas and they do not have a Will, the Texas Probate Code establishes the formula for asset distribution.

Property in Texas is classified as either real property or personal property.  Also, Texas is a community property state.  Thus, a decedent’s estate is broken down into separate real property, separate personal property, community real property and community personal property (assuming the decedent is a married person).  Without a Will Texas law then determines who your heirs are for each type of property.

Not surprisingly, the Texas Probate Code does not have a favorite niece or nephew.  Distribution is determined by how closely an heir was related to the decedent, with no consideration for the nature or quality of the relationship between the parties.  Dying without a Will risks that the decedent’s property will not pass through to those people the decedent would have liked.  Just a few examples are:  (1) a married couple who have children from previous relationships will not inherit all the assets of their spouse at death; (2) gifts given to children during life are not considered during intestate distribution; (3) a single person whose close friends are more like family would not inherit; (4) situations surrounding adopted children; (5) an illegitimate child cannot inherit from their father unless specific criteria are met; and (6) stepchildren do not inherit from stepparents, unless adopted.

One final consideration is that even if the Texas Probate Code distribution is acceptable, dying without a Will can tie up assets for long periods of time.  A proceeding is frequently required to determine the deceased person’s heirs.  Yet another proceeding could be necessary to appoint an administrator to settle the estate and transfer title.  It is possible the court could require the administrator to post bond to insure their duties are performed responsibly.  In addition to time and complexity, legal fees and court costs for intestate proceedings invariably cost more than those proceedings where the decedent had a Will.

Bottom line is that dying without a Will in Texas can frequently be costly, time consuming and cause unnecessary frustration for the loved ones left behind.  Taking time to create a simple Last Will and Testament, if properly drafted, can be an enormous benefit to those left behind.

Wendy Lambie

Phone: 281-367-1222

Fax: 281-210-1361

[email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact a Dedicated Texas Business Lawyer To Schedule a Consultation
Call 281-367-1222 or contact us online to schedule a meeting.

Strong In Action

  • Spring 2021

    The Strong Firm prevails in dispositive motion regarding Texas economic loss rule resulting in dismissal of claims again party.

    Read More
  • Spring 2019

    The Strong Firm successfully forecloses first priority lien against multi-million dollar commercial asset.

    Read More
  • Spring 2021

    The Strong Firm secures writ of reentry after unlawful lockout of commercial tenant.

    Read More
  • Spring 2021

    The Strong Firm prevails in writ of mandamus proceeding involving denial of temporary restraining order to stop foreclosure sale.

    Read More
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  • Peer Rated 2022 Award
  • Clio Client-Centered Certification

Recent Blog Posts

Wealth Planning & Preservation: Essential Considerations for Your Financial Future

As trusted legal advisors, we recognize the importance of proactively addressing the complexities of wealth planning and safeguarding your financial future and legacy. In today's rapidly changing economic landscape, it's essential for individuals and families to understand the potential risks and opportunities associated with managing their wealth effectively. At The Strong
Read More
Wealth Planning & Preservation: Essential Considerations for Your Financial Future

Navigating Employment Law Concerns: A Guide To The Biggest Risks for Texas Employers

Navigating Employment Law Concerns: A Guide To The Biggest Risks for Texas Employers As trusted legal advisors, we understand the complexities and challenges that employers face when navigating the landscape of employment law. With the ever-evolving regulatory environment, it's crucial for employers to stay informed and proactive in addressing legal concerns. One
Read More
Navigating Employment Law Concerns: A Guide To The Biggest Risks for Texas Employers

Asset Flow in Estate Planning

Planning for the distribution of your assets upon your passing can seem a daunting task regardless of the size of your estate.  However, planning for how those assets will be distributed, and ensuring your estate plan accounts for your desired distribution, is essential. In this article, we will discuss the
Read More
Asset Flow in Estate Planning

Kelly Sullivan Joins The Strong Firm P.C. As Senior Counsel

The Strong Firm P.C. is excited to announce the addition of Kelly Sullivan to its team of experienced attorneys. Kelly adds exceptional strength to the firm’s established practice areas based on her wealth of experience in the areas of Litigation, Labor and Employment Law, Business Law and Governmental Law, Zoning
Read More
Kelly Sullivan Joins The Strong Firm P.C. As Senior Counsel
  • Video Vault


    Watch videos done by our legal team to gain a better understanding of your legal needs. Our lawyers give video insight into areas such as Real Estate, Business Law, Mergers & Acquisitions and much more.
Contact us

Quick Contact Form