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How Property Distributed When Someone Dies Without A Will

The Complexities of Intestacy in Non-Traditional Families

by Rania Combs

I received a note last week that highlights the heartbreaking consequences of dying without a Will in non-traditional families.

The couple had lived together for twenty-one years in a home the deceased partner had purchased before their relationship began. The deceased partner had been previously married and was survived by a child from the prior relationship.

“Will his only son get it all and leave my sister out of her 21 year residence and out on the street?” the writer asked.

Every state has intestacy laws, which provide an orderly way to dispose of assets when someone dies without a Will. In Texas, when a single person dies without a Will and is survived by children, all his property will be passed to his children in equal shares.

The intestacy laws are rigid and inflexible. They don’t take into account the deceased persons unique circumstances and may result in a distribution that may seem neither fair nor equitable. Unfortunately, without a Will, the intestacy laws control.

If you are part of a non-traditional family, and want your partner to benefit from your estate when you die, you need a Will.


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