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What happens to Texas families without a will?

Believe it or not, over half of those who are between the ages of 55 and 64 do not have a will in place. A will is vital to include in an estate since it gives instructions on how to distribute assets. Without a will, the state of Texas may make the decision on distribution.

Approximately 64 percent of the overall population has not created a will. Grantors who die without leaving a will are called dying intestate. This means that the state has the right to regulate which family members will receive the assets. When going this route, there is no guarantee that assets will be distributed to intended individuals, including children and surviving spouses. With this in mind, why would people not want to have a will in place?

Out of the reasons for not creating a will, 17 percent did not feel that they needed one in the first place, and another 22 percent did not think that the will was a priority. The highest percentage of people who did not have a will stated that they simply had not gotten around to creating one. Regardless of one's financial standing, just about everyone would be wise to have a will.

Dying intestate is undoubtedly difficult for surviving family members to experience. Of course the death of a loved one is emotionally intense, but battling over assets adds more fuel to the fire. It is very likely that assets would not end up going to intended family members, and the chances of landing in probate court is pretty high. Texas grantors who do not have a will may want to explore their options to create one that is legally binding.

Source: forbes.com, "Americans' Ostrich Approach To Estate Planning", Richard Eisenberg, April 9, 2014

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