A common misconception about estate planning says that a surviving spouse will receive all of the property and possessions from the deceased. Not only is this not true, but according to the Texas State Legislature, only a probate court can determine how property is distributed if no will exists. This means that, after you pass, and without a will, you will have no say in who inherits your belongings. If you’re thinking about foregoing a will, consider the following risks and how your loved ones might be affected.
Without a will, a probate court judge primarily focuses on spouses, ex-spouses, and children to be named as beneficiaries. A probate court classifies all the possessions and determines them to be either separate or community property and possessions.
Then, because each family is different, a judge can determine that:
- If distributing separate property, a spouse may receive a third of belongings while children receive the rest.
- If distributing community property, a spouse will receive half, and the children receive the rest.
- Only children will receive belongings if the deceased was never married at the time of death.
The Care of Children
When it comes to appointing a guardian for underage children, a court will make the decision if there is no will. A probate court considers closest living relatives as guardians or any court-approved individual.
Without a will, if you happen to be physically or mentally incapacitated, then a probate court will appoint a healthcare guardian. A few decisions that this person may make on your behalf include:
- Hiring additional legal representation to maintain your estate.
- Advocating for your well-being if there happen to be disagreements about your care amongst your family.
Don’t Wait to Draft a Will!
Although drafting or updating a will may seem like a long-term process, it will be worth meeting with our estate planning lawyers as early as possible. Contact our lawyers in McAllen to get started today.