Lake Jackson Wills, Trusts & Probate Attorneys
Compassionate Brazoria County legal representation in end of life matters
Death is an uncomfortable topic for most people. Because of this, many people fail to draft wills that clearly lay out their wishes, and surviving family members must turn to the court system to figure out what to do. These matters are often painful and emotional, as not only have these individuals lost a loved one—but they must also fight against each other in court.
At The Cordoba Law Firm, PLLC, our Lake Jackson wills, trusts & probate attorneys provide the tools you need to avoid contested litigation after your death. If you are already involved in contested litigation in a probate matter, our attorneys represent your interests in court. We have assisted individuals and families facing end of life matters with dignity in Lake Jackson and surrounding areas.
What happens if you die without a will in Texas?
If someone dies without having a will in place, that person’s estate will be distributed according to Texas’ intestacy laws. If a person dies without a will, it is called dying intestate. Thus, intestacy laws direct which surviving family members inherit from the deceased.
Surviving family members who may inherit from the laws of intestacy include:
- Children, including adopted children
- Other relatives may also be included, depending on the deceased’s relationships at the time of death
First, it is important to note the types of property in Texas which may be either community or separate. Community property is generally acquired during a marriage—by either spouse. Community property is considered the property of both spouses. Exceptions to the general rule include property that is inherited,or purchased with seperate funds. and property purchased with separate property funds.
Separate property is typically acquired by inheritance, gift, before marriage or after divorce. Therefore, separate property remains the property of the individual.
If the deceased dies without a Will, was married and had children in common with his or her spouse, the spouse automatically inherits all the community property. In terms of separate property, that surviving spouse will inherit one-third of the separate property, which is personal property, and a one-third life estate in separate property, which is real property. The children receive equal shares of the remainder of the estate.
If the deceased was married and had children, but those children were not the surviving spouse's, the surviving spouse inherits a third of the separate personal property. The surviving spouse also receives the right to use real estate for the rest of his or her life. The children receive everything else, including the one-half interest in community property.
Texas law also provides for very specific distribution when the deceased dies without children and is survived by parents, siblings and other relatives.
Disputes often arise after a relative dies intestate. These matters must be litigated in probate court, which may take many months or longer. Therefore, it is always best to have a will in place.
In some cases, an individual decides to leave some of all of the estate in a trust. In a trust, a trustee is designated to serve the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries are entitled to income from the trust. With a trust, probate may be avoided, as property in the trust is not always subject to probate laws. With the assistance of an experienced trust attorney, you may designate which portions of your estate are passed into a trust.
If you need help with a will, trust or probate matter, call our experienced Lake Jackson estate planning lawyers today
At The Cordoba Law Firm PLLC, our Lake Jackson wills, trusts & probate attorneys are compassionate, yet aggressive, and will ensure that your legal rights are protected, whether you are drafting a will, a trust instrument, or are litigating against family members. To schedule a consultation with our attorneys, call 979-297-2854 or contact us online. We serve clients throughout Brazoria County including Lake Jackson, Alvin, Angleton, Brazoria, Clute, Danbury, Freeport, Oyster Creek, Pearland, Sweeny, West Columbia, and Matagorda County.