What Happens if I Die before Creating a Will?
When people die without wills in Texas, their assets will be passed according to the state’s intestacy laws. Dying without a will is referred to as dying intestate. When this occurs, the intestacy laws control how the decedent’s property is distributed, including securities, bank accounts, personal property, and certain types of real estate. If some of the assets are located in a different state, that state’s intestacy laws will control how those assets are distributed.
Intestate succession laws vary, depending on whether you had children, were married, were single, or were in a domestic partnership at the time of your death. In a majority of cases, the assets will be distributed to the deceased person’s heirs. When someone dies without any relatives, ownership of the estate’s assets will pass to the state. To help you understand what might happen, a Dallas Texas attorney at Badmus & Associates has explained how your estate might pass under various situations if you die intestate.
Dying without a will while single
If you are single and childless when you die, your estate will go to your parents if they are still alive. If your parents are not alive when you die, your estate will be divided equally by your siblings. When one of your parents survives you, your estate will be divided between your parent and your siblings. If there are no parents, siblings, nieces, or nephews who survive you, your estate will be divided between your maternal and paternal relatives.
Single people who die with surviving children will have their estates divided equally among their children. When a child predeceases a parent who subsequently dies, that child’s share will go to his or her children. For example, if you had three children but one child died after having two of your grandchildren, your estate would be divided into three shares with one each going to your two surviving children. The third share will be divided between your deceased child’s two children.
Dying without a will when married
When you die while married but have no will, how your estate will be distributed depends on how your assets are owned at the time of your death. Community or marital property is passed to your surviving spouse in its entirety. Your separate property will be divided between your spouse, parents, and siblings. If you and your spouse have children together, your estate will pass to your spouse. If you are married but do not share children with your surviving spouse, half of your estate will be distributed to your spouse and half will be passed to any children you share with a former partner or spouse.
Dying without a will while in a domestic partnership
Domestic partnerships are treated differently under the laws of intestate succession. Some states do not recognize domestic partnerships in their intestate succession laws. In states that recognize domestic partnerships in their intestacy laws, surviving domestic partners inherit assets similar to how surviving spouses do. In Texas, only Travis County includes domestic partners in the intestacy laws. If you do not reside in Travis County and are in a domestic partnership when you die, this means that your estate will pass to your heirs under the state’s intestacy laws instead of to your domestic partner.
Dying without a will when unmarried but living together
If you are unmarried but live with your partner when you die intestate, your partner will be excluded from receiving any assets from your estate. The intestacy laws recognize relatives but do not recognize unmarried people. This means that your partner will not inherit any of your property if you die intestate. Unless you draft a will that states your intentions to leave your assets to your partner, your assets will instead be distributed to your relatives no matter your intentions.
How to create a will with an estate planning lawyer Dallas
Creating a will with the help of an estate plan lawyer Dallas Texas can help you to avoid unintended consequences and to make sure that your estate and assets will be distributed according to your wishes. A will allows you to designate how your assets will be distributed and who will receive them. However, a will must be drafted correctly for it to be deemed valid. If a will is not created correctly under the law and is deemed invalid, it will be unenforceable. When a will is unenforceable, the assets will be distributed under the intestacy laws.
Working with the Dallas estate planning attorneys at Badmus & Associates to create a will can help you to ensure that your wishes will be followed after you die. A Dallas estate planning attorney at our firm can help you to choose an executor and draft a will that should withstand legal objections. Contact us today to schedule a consultation by calling us at 214-494-8033.