What Happens If You Don’t Have A Will?

a will and a pen laying on a desk

We all want to ensure that our belongings go where we need them to when we move on. For many people in Texas, missing out on the probate process leads to lengthy court battles. These battles often get very personal without a clear will to dictate where these assets are supposed to go. At Dan Burke Attorney at Law, a good San Antonio probate attorney is only a call away to manage your property.

The reason that wills are so important after death is they give a clear path for the government to distribute the property as you sign it. Without a will, the court will generally defer to what state law decrees. This can sometimes act against your best interest if there are special circumstances in your family.

Dying Without A Will In Texas

Dying without a will pre-written in Texas means you must distribute your assets according to the Texas Estates Code. This subdivides the property in two ways: separate and community. They label property as separate if you acquired it before marriage, inherited it or received it as a gift from someone else. Community property is acquired while married, except for gifts.

After your property is categorized, distribution will depend on the number of survivors you have. Generally, Texas law says a spouse and children survive your estate, guaranteeing them a share of your income.

Probate Law And The Will

The probate process gives legal backing to the will and creates a representative to administer the estate for you. In Texas, the local court rules the time you need to probate a will. The average rule in Texas is that you have four years to file for probate. This varies state by state, but minimizing the issues that come with probate will save you a lot of time and legal trouble.

A living trust is an alternative to probate, and while it has its benefits, it can be very expensive. Instead of avoiding probate, try to resolve issues beforehand so probate smooths over easily.

How Does Marriage Affect The Administration Of The Estate?

Marriage affects the way that the estate is distributed. This is because the spouse has the right to a certain amount of the different properties you acquire in Texas. A spouse generally has the right to half of your community property, one-third of the separate property, and half of the interest on your community property. This will change depending on family circumstances and prior arrangements.

A great example of a situation in which the property right would change is divorce. Intestate succession laws determine the different situations. Ex-spouses, for example, don’t have the right to property after death outside of what they were intended to in the divorce. Looking at your state succession laws will determine who is entitled to what after passing.

How Do Children Affect Administration And Probating A Will?

If you have children, it can affect the way that your assets are distributed. This is because when we look at succession laws, there’s an overwhelming agreement that children are entitled to a part of their parent’s estate. The estate is usually given to the guardian of the child to be distributed at their will.

This can also make probating much more complex. Occasionally, the child’s guardian may have a different interest than the child’s best interest. In this case, let your appointed representative for your assets know! They will fight for you.

Call Today To Protect Your Property!

Here at Dan Burke Attorney at Law, we have the experience to represent your interest and help you draft your will properly. For over 19 years, Dan Burke has worked to represent San Antonio clients and knows what it takes to create a successful case. Offering services such as same-day responses and affordable pricing, we want you to be able to probate even in the most complicated situations! Call today to get in contact with an experienced representative.


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