Some people in Texas may have avoided executing a will not because they don’t want to think about their ultimate demise, but because they simply don’t think it’s necessary. They may think they do not have enough assets to make a going through the time and expense of creating a will worthwhile. However, what they may not understand is that, whether there is a will or not, when they pass away their estate will go through the probate process, in which the distribution of their estate will be left entirely up to the state.
Through probate, state laws of “intestate succession” will dictate who is to inherit the deceased’s estate. Those heirs not be the ones the deceased would’ve chosen, but without a will or trust, the deceased has no say in the matter. Moreover, even if a person only has modest assets, there are still items that have a great deal of sentimental value, which a person would want to leave to a specific individual. If a person has a will in place, their assets will go down to the people of their choosing.
In addition, in a will one can also assign a person to be the executor of one’s estate. The executor is responsible for settling the estate. This could include paying debts and taxes out of the estate’s assets, and then distributing the remainder of the estate to named heirs in the will. Wills can also name a person or people who would serve as guardians of any minor children, should both parents pass away before the children are grown.