Intestacy

How Property Distributed When Someone Dies Without A Will

Intestate Distribution for the Single Parent — What Happens If You Die Without a Will in Texas?

by Rania Combs

If you are an unmarried person who dies without a Will in Texas, the Texas intestacy statutes will dictate how and to whom your assets will be distributed.

According to the statutes, if you are single with children, then all your property would pass to your descendants. If your descendants are of the same degree of relationship, (meaning, for example, that all are your children or all are your grandchildren), then your assets will be divided equally between them.

However, if your descendants are of different degrees of relationship, (meaning some of your children predecease you, leaving children or grandchildren of their own), then the younger generation would only be entitled only to the share the older generation would have received had he or she survived.

The statutes are rigid and inflexible. Without a will you forfeit the power to control how your assets are distributed.

  1. Perhaps you would have liked a close friend, a sibling, or a charity to share in your estate. This would not be possible without a will.
  2. Perhaps you would have liked a trusted friend or family member to manage your estate for the benefit for your minor children. Without a will, a court may have to initiate a guardianship proceeding, and make this decision for you. Guardianship is usually an expensive and cumbersome process that can easily be avoided with a will.
  3. Perhaps you would liked to delay the age at which your children would get control of assets you leave behind. This would have been possible by creating a trust in your will. But if a guardianship is created, your children will get their share of the inheritance when they turn 18 years, before they may have the wisdom, skill and foresight to manage it.

If you want the power to control how and to whom your assets are distributed when you die, you need a will.

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