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Dying Without A Will
Leaving Your Estate To The Law
Usually a person has an idea of how he or she would like their property to pass to others. However, undesired results can arise if the person dies without leaving an executed Will. If a person dies without a Will, the State of Texas laws of Intestacy disposes of their property. The law does not play favorites. Without a will, the distribution of property is determined by how closely the heir/heirs were related to the deceased. The Law does not take into account the nature of the relationship between the heir/heirs and the deceased.
Dying without a Will risks that the property may not be distributed as the deceased wished. In Texas, there is no forced heirship; in other words, a parent is not required to leave property to his or her children. However, one cannot disinherit heirs if he or she dies without a Will. In that scenario, the property may pass to the undesired heirs instead of those the deceased would have chosen. For instance, a devoted friend, who cared for the deceased for years, will not inherit property, no matter how unfair it may seem. The only way the devoted friend can inherit property from the deceased is if the deceased included the friend in their Will.
Dying without a Will can be a costly affair. In general, a court proceeding is often required to determine who are the heirs of the estate. The court may appoint an Administrator, who is responsible to the court for administering the estate in accordance to Texas law. The Administrator's duties include locating the heirs, inventorying the assets, paying debts and claims against the estate, and distributing the property to the heirs. If the estate cannot be divided amicably, the court must intervene to resolve the disputes. Court proceedings are generally slow and costly to the estate. Filing fees and attorney costs continue to rise the longer there is a dispute. Therefore, dying without a Will cost more money and causes unnecessary frustration for the family of the deceased.
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