It’s very important to have a Will because the Texas legislature did not have your specific family in mind when they came up with the rules for intestate succession. Intestate succession is how the state has decided your estate will be divided if you do not have a Will. You may have certain people in your family, like children who need more help than other children or even special needs children. A lot of people will have discussions about, “I have children that are twenty and I have children that are six. The children that were twenty have been given an education; they’ve been sent off in life with the financial backing that I’ve given them through twenty years, but I’ve got this six-year-old that’s going to need an education.” Are you going to decide to give that six-year-old something more for their education than you would for your twenty-year-old? These are personal decisions, but those personal decisions can only be made through a Will.
When heirs are unhappy with what they are given in a Will and they file suit seeking more from the estate, that is called a Will contest. Unless it is determined that the deceased person was under undue influence by someone or did not have testamentary capacity when they wrote and signed the Will, the Will contest will probably not be successful. But if there is no Will, the rules as set out in the Estates Code for intestate estates are pretty set in stone, and as soon as the Court is able to determine who the heirs are, they receive certain percentages of certain property. The bottom line is: Don’t Die Without a Will; contact a lawyer and have your Will drafted as soon as possible.
This video is part of a series on Wills and Probate. Click the links below to view more videos in this series.