Some Basic Rules About Dying Without a Will in Texas
If you die without a will in Texas, your assets will be distributed according to Texas' intestacy law, which provides a statutory flowchart. The distribution of your assets under intestacy law may or may not align with your wishes, as nearly every person's situation is a little different when it comes to family relationships and friends.
First, let's assume you are single, have no children, and die without a will in Texas. Your assets will be distributed as follows:
- To your parents equally if both are living.
- If only one parent is living and you had siblings, then the surviving parent gets half and the other half is divided among your siblings (if living) or their descendants (if sibling(s) predeceased you).
- If only one parent is living and you have no living siblings or living descendants of siblings, then your parent gets your entire estate.
- If you have no surviving parents, then your siblings (or their descendants if a sibling predeceased you) divide the estate.
- If you have no surviving parents, siblings, or descendants of siblings, then one half of your estate goes to your relatives on your mother's side of the family and one half goes to your relatives on your father's side of the family.
- If either your mother's or your father's side of the family is completely gone, then the side with survivors takes the entire estate.
- If no living heirs can be located, then the entire estate passes to the State of Texas.
As quickly becomes apparent, close friends don't count, even if they are the only people who stayed by you in the end. They will not be considered heirs in any way under the laws of intestate succession. In future articles, we will talk about the rules of intestacy when a person has children or is married.
We are not guaranteed another day, no matter what our ages. Take the time now to prepare your Last Will and Testament and other estate planning documents to save your family the additional heartache of having to make difficult decisions for you.
An experienced Bryan-College Station, Texas estate planning attorney can provide the information and assistance you need to prepare a comprehensive estate plan today. Call the Peterson Law Group to make an appointment at 979-703-7014 or fill out our online contact form.