Estate planning is a good way for a Texas resident to take control of how and to whom their end-of-life estate is distributed. Through their estate plan, a person can decide which loved ones will receive their property and in what quantities. An individual can provide for charities of their choosing, set up trusts for loved ones, or even disinherit individuals they do not want to take from their estate.
When a Texas resident dies without an estate plan, their end-of-life estate may be distributed according to the state’s laws of intestacy. Intestate success as it is known involves passing property to closely related family members. This may not be a desirable outcome for a person who does not want their closely related relatives to benefit after their death.
This post will briefly discuss intestate succession in Texas. It does not provide legal advice or guidance. When questions about estate planning arise, individuals should always contact their trusted attorneys for advice.
Intestate succession when the decedent is married
When a person dies without an estate plan and with a spouse, the amount of the decedent’s estate that will go to the spouse will depend on if the decedent had any kids or other closely related relatives. When the decedent had no children, their spouse will receive much of their estate but some may go to the decedent’s parents or siblings if they survive the decedent. If no parents, children, siblings, or descendants of siblings survive the decedent, the spouse may take all of the decedent’s estate.
Intestate succession when the decedent does not have a spouse
Intestate succession for an unmarried decedent follows lines of family up and down the tree of heredity. For example, an unmarried person with no kids who dies will have their estate pass first up to their parents and then down to their siblings and siblings’ descendants. If no such relatives survive the decedent, then their estate may pass up to their grandparents and down the line of descent. It can take time to locate and pass inheritance to individuals through intestate succession.
While not everyone may see problems with the inheritance approach adopted by the state’s intestate succession laws, many people would rather have control over what happens to their money and assets when they die. An estate planning attorney can provide an individual with support to prepare an estate plan that fits their objectives.