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What happens if you die without a will in Texas?

Writing wills allows people to control how their property and assets will be handled after they die. Wills are probated, and the assets of the estate are distributed according to provisions the testators have included. When a person dies without writing a will, Texas’s intestacy laws will control what happens to the deceased person’s assets and who will receive them. Any debts that are owed will be subtracted first before the distribution happens, and the probate process can take up to two years.

What are the intestacy laws?

The intestacy laws control how a deceased person’s estate will be handled when he or she dies without leaving a will. A person who dies without a will is said to have died intestate. The property held by the deceased person’s estate will pass by intestate succession according to the familial relationships of the surviving family members. The state’s intestacy laws do not allow the property to pass to friends or charitable causes. Instead, the family members will receive the assets by descending order of relationships after the probate administration costs, funeral expenses, taxes, and creditors are paid.

Who inherits under the intestacy laws?

Texas’s intestacy laws state that the estate will pass to the surviving spouse and biological children if there are any before any other relatives will receive anything through the estate administration and probate process. If there is a surviving spouse and some biological children shared by both spouses, the spouse will receive all of the deceased person’s community property as well as one-third of the decedent’s separate property. The surviving children will inherit the remaining separate property. If the person has a surviving spouse and children who are the deceased person’s biological children but not the spouse’s, the surviving spouse will receive one-third of the separate property of the deceased person and the right to use the marital home for the rest of his or her life. The decedent’s biological children will inherit everything else.

Writing a will allows people to make sure that their wishes are followed in how their assets are divided. Without a will, the intestacy laws will control how the property is divided. This could result in unintended consequences with certain people left out of being able to inherit assets.

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