What happens if I die without a will?
Die “intestate” — means to die without a will. If this occurs, you cannot choose who will inherit your money, real estate, belongings, property, retirement benefits, & insurance (your “estate”). Instead, your estate will be divided according to Texas law. Without a will, your estate could be tied up in a lengthy probate process involving attorneys, court hearings, filing fees — all paid with money taken out of your estate. With a will, you get to decide what happens with your estate. An executor (a person you choose) sees to it that your estate is divided the way you intended.
If I’m married, won’t my property automatically pass to my spouse?
No. Without a will, your estate will be divided under state law depending on whether it is classified as separate or community property.
Community Property — all property acquired by both spouses during the marriage, including all cash, bank accounts, retirement, personal property and real estate, unless it is considered separate property.
Separate Property — property owned by a spouse before the marriage, or acquired during the marriage by one spouse as gift, an inheritance, or through a personal injury settlement.
I have children and I’m not married — Will it go to my children?
Yes. Community property only applies if you are married. At the time of death, if you are NOT married– all of your children (born or adopted), in our out of wedlock will share equally in your estate (if paternity is not at issue). Without a will, your grandchildren won’t get anything unless your child dies before you. If your child dies, his/her shares will pas to their children (your grandchildren) in equal shares. If you want to leave something to your grandchildren, you should make a will.
I’m not married and have no children — Who will inherit my property?
If both parents are alive, each parent will get ½. If both parents are dead, your estate will be divided equally among your siblings. If one parent is alive, that parent will get ½ half and the remaining ½ will be divided among your siblings. If none of your siblings survive you but one parent is still living, that parent takes all.