What happens when someone dies without a will?

| Sep 14, 2020 | Probate Administration |

Dying without a will in Texas sends your property through the probate process using the intestacy laws of succession. The probate statutes spell out the path through which your estate must travel before disbursement to your heirs. 

The process may take longer than traditional probate, during which an administrator takes care of your estate matters according to your will. Instead, your family may not receive all that you want them to. 

The impact of marital status

You may believe that because you have a spouse, you do not have to worry about inheritance issues when you die. However, this is not always the case. The court considers all marital property as belonging to both spouses, so your spouse simply retains these assets as the sole owner. 

An issue may present itself regarding any property you did not own jointly with your spouse. Under the law, the court divides anything it does not consider marital property between surviving relatives. Your spouse receives a pre-defined portion, and so do your children. Other family members may also be in line to receive some of your estate. 

The role of the court

You may not want some relatives to benefit from your death. However, dying without leaving a legally viable will leaves your money in the hands of the court. If you want to have a say in where your wealth and property go after you die, create a will sooner rather than later. 

Putting your family through an uncertain probate process may make moving on after your death more difficult.