Without estate planning, Texas’s intestacy laws can confuse

People like to plan things: what to do during vacation, what to have for dinner and what career move to make next. This planning also extends to what people would like to have happen after death, the problem is, however, that unless someone takes the proactive step of creating a will or some other estate planning tool, no one will know how the property should be distributed. Instead, El Paso residents’ property will become subject to Texas’s intestacy laws.

When someone dies intestate, or without an estate planning device in place, his or her property and assets are distributed according to a set of Texas statutes. The problem is that these laws can be convoluted and difficult to understand without the help of an estate planning lawyer. And, even if you can figure them out, they may not be how you want to divide your things after you die.

Take, for example, the following situation: a woman dies before both of her parents. The woman leaves behind two daughters, who ostensibly inherit their mothers’ possessions. When these daughters’ grandmother and then grandfather die, who gets what? While this may seem like a question used to stump law students, it is exactly the sort of problem Texas courts must resolve with no will or estate planning device in play.

It is likely that the daughters would receive their grandparents’ estate, but the situation can change very quickly with even the slightest variation to the story. When a family member does die and there is a question of who should get what, it is important to consult a estate planning attorney for clarification.

Source:San Antonio Express, “Do grandchildren or great-aunt inherit?” Paul Premack, June 19, 2013