LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Stephen A. Mendel | Jun 6, 2012

Disadvantages of Dying Intestate

There are many disadvantages to dying intestate or without a valid written or oral will. One major disadvantage is that dying intestate may mean that your intestate heirs may not be able to receive any of your property from your estate for a long time. This is because a Texas Probate court may have to determine who your legal heirs might be and establish which of your legal heirs can receive your property. A court might also have to appoint an administrator to oversee your estate and distribute your property to your intestate heirs.

If you die intestate, you will not be able to control which heirs will receive your property. For example, if you wanted your niece to inherit your prized comic book collection, you should state such in a Will. Without a will, your niece may not receive the comic book collection. Furthermore, you may not have wanted your nieces and nephews to divide your property equally between them. If you die intestate, the administrator will divide your property equally between lineal descendants according to their successive rights.

Another reason you should create a valid Will is to control the disposition of the gifts that you made during your lifetime. Under the Texas Probate Code, a gift made to others during your life is not an advancement of a future inheritance. This means that a probate court will not consider any of the gifts that you have made during your lifetime to your intestate heirs. As such, if you gave one of your heirs a cash gift during your lifetime, he or she will receive an equal distribution of your estate pursuant to the state’s intestacy laws, and without regard to the prior cash gift.

If you have questions about estate planning issues, then please call for an initial one-hour consultation, which is at no-charge. We at the Mendel Law Firm can help you uncover your options and choose the strategy that is best for you.

Additional resources provided by the author

The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. 1155 Dairy Ashford, Suite 104 Houston, TX 77079 O: 281-759-3213 F: 281-759-3214 Email: [email protected] www.mendellawfirm.com

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