What Are the Costs of Dying Without a Will in Texas?
The two most common reasons people put off making a will are that they think they have plenty of time to worry about it later or they think hiring an attorney to draft a will is too expensive. We can't know how many days we have left to live, but we can disprove the second excuse. In this article, we will look at the costs of making a will versus the costs of dying without a will. For most people, making a will now makes good fiscal sense.
Dying without a will can tie up your assets
Under Texas law, a person's net estate is passed to family members when there is no valid will that says otherwise. You may think that's just fine, so why should you bother making a will? The fact is if you die without a will, your assets may be tied up in the probate process for quite a while. Lawyers fees and court costs add up quickly after the fact, especially if the probate process is contentious. In the meantime, your family members who relied on you may struggle to make ends meet.
Of course, the actual cost of making your will depends on the size and complexity of your estate. But whether it costs you a few hundred dollars for a simple will or several thousand dollars for a structured estate plan, having a plan in place helps ensure your loved ones are provided for and kick starts the probate process.
Dying without a will almost always guarantees lengthy court proceedings
When a person dies intestate, or without a will, court proceedings are usually needed to initiate the estate administration process. The administrator must locate and identify potential heirs, inventory the estate, oversee notification of potential claimants, and ultimately transfer property to the heirs according to Texas's laws of intestate succession. A well-structured estate plan can eliminate a number of steps in the probate process, resulting in lower overall attorneys' fees and less time in court in the long run.
Dying without a will leaves relatives wondering who should get what
Another problem of dying without a will is that it leaves room for relatives to question what you would have wanted as it relates to distributing your property. Relatives who are dissatisfied with their portion are more likely to bring legal challenges in court if there is no document stating your wishes. Even if the unhappy heirs pay their own attorneys' fees for bringing disputes to court, the estate must still pay its attorney, or its representative's attorney. More time in court means more of your estate goes to legal fees and less ultimately goes to the heirs.
Having a valid will in place is undoubtedly the best way to avoid unnecessary legal expense and heartache for your intended heirs. Take a proactive role in determining where your assets will go when you're gone by developing a comprehensive estate plan.
Resolve today to get your estate plan in order
Our experienced Bryan, Texas family law and estate planning attorneys at the Peterson Law Group are ready to help you get your affairs in order, for your peace of mind and for the security of your heirs. Call 979-703-7014“>979-703-7014 or visit us online to learn more about our firm and the comprehensive estate planning services we offer.