Do I Need a Will?

Writing up an official Texas will is something that, understandably, not many people want think about or take the time to do. One probably thought about it before and said, “I’ll get around to it,” “I don’t need to do that right now” or something along those lines. So, does one really need to take the time to draft a will?

Whether or not to have a will is ultimately a personal choice. However, there are some very important reasons to consider taking the time to have an attorney help one prepare an official will. If they die without a will, they may not have much say or control over what happens to personal property and assets.

When one dies without a will, it is referred to as dying “intestate.” That means that the intestacy laws of the State will step in to determine how property should be distributed. One’s property could include bank accounts, investments, real estate and other personal property assets that one owned.

Generally, one’s property will be divided into equal shares and split amongst “heirs.” The laws of intestacy distribution and who is considered to be heirs will vary depending on whether you are single, married or have any children at the time of death.

For instance, if one is single with no children, but survived by parents, then parents will get the entire estate. If one’s parents are no longer living, then the estate will be divided amongst any surviving siblings. If one is single, but have children, their entire estate will get divided amongst \children.

If one is married, then their entire estate will generally go to the surviving spouse, with some potential exceptions for non-marital property. Intestacy laws do not recognize the relationship of unmarried couples who live together, so absent a will stating otherwise, if one is an unmarried couple, the significant other will not receive any portion of the estate.

To avoid having an estate governed by these intestacy laws, it is absolutely essential to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to draft up a will that reflects your wishes on how to properly distribute your assets.

Source: FindLaw.com, “What happens if you die without a will?” accessed on April 24, 2018

Related Posts: When can one challenge a will?, Common mistakes in estate planning, Do I really need to create a complicated trust?, The importance of being careful when drafting a will


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