When someone passes on without having an estate plan in place, their assets become subject to the probate process. Probate can be an extremely complicated process that takes months or longer to settle an estate. During this time, the decedent’s friends and family may wonder what will happen to your assets. Here is what you can expect if you should pass on without a will:
Where does your estate end up?
Contrary to popular opinion, the Texas government does not take your property if you pass away without a will. Instead, the probate process determines who your beneficiaries are and how much of your estate they all receive. If you have a spouse or children at the time of your passing, they will inherit your estate, and they will divide the assets according to state law.
If you should pass on without any children or a spouse, things become more complicated. The probate process will then look at the beneficiary order to determine who would receive your estate assets next. The order of inheritance often stands as:
- Extended family
- Next nearest ancestor or descendant
Like spouses and children, the beneficiaries through probate receive a portion of the assets that state law specifies. Even though there are legal policies and procedures on administering your estate after your passing, it could take your family months or even years to receive assets that they could have normally received in only weeks if a will was present.
Do not leave things to chance
If your estate becomes subject to the probate process, your assets may wind up in possession of someone you may have never chosen under normal circumstances. Keep the guesswork out of who receives what after you pass on by talking with an experienced estate planning attorney to create a plan that best suits your needs and allows you to dictate specifically who will keep what after your passing.