Should I Draft a Will If I Own Almost Nothing?


Why You Should Have a Will Regardless of Your Economic Status

A will is a legally binding document that outlines a person’s wishes regarding the distribution of their estate upon their death. A common myth about wills is that only the wealthy or those with a lot of property need them. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth; you should have a will regardless of your wealth or economic status.

A will makes sure that your wishes are known and honored. You can also protect your spouse and/or children from having a long probate process or from not receiving the assets you wish them to have. While spouses typically inherit because of intestate succession, having a will can allow you to either will assets to other parties or ensure your spouse inherits everything. It is also important to note that if you want any assets to be given to friends or charity, intestate succession laws do not account for giving people outside of surviving family any part of your estate.

Even if believe you own almost nothing, you may have more assets than you think. For instance, you can outline who gets your:

  • Personal benefits
  • Checking and savings account balances
  • Settlements
  • Furniture
  • Motor vehicle
  • Clothing
  • Pet(s)

Texas Intestate Succession

Legally, you are not required to have a will in Texas. However, dying without a will means that your surviving family members will have to endure a long probate process, and your wishes will not be known or honored. Even if you only have a few small assets, you should share what you want to happen with them in the event of your passing.

If you die without a will, your assets will be distributed based on Texas intestacy statutes. Assets that pass through probate are the assets distributed based on intestate succession. These assets include assets that do not have a co-owner or named beneficiary. Here is a brief outline of who will inherit based on intestate succession:

  • Your children will inherit everything if you are survived by children but no spouse.
  • Your spouse inherits everything if you are survived by solely a spouse and not any children, siblings, or parents.
  • Your parents inherit everything if you are survived by only your parents and not a spouse, children, or siblings.
  • Your siblings inherit everything if you are survived by siblings and not a spouse, children, or parents.
  • Your spouse will inherit half of your marital community property, a third of your separate property, and the right to use your real estate and your children will inherit everything else if you are survived by a parent and spouse.
  • Your parent will inherit half of your separate property and your siblings will equally inherit the remaining half of the separate property if are survived by one parent and siblings but not a spouse.
  • Your spouse will inherit all of your martial community property, all of your separate property, and half of your separate real estate, and your sibling will inherit everything else if you are survived by a spouse and siblings but no parents.

Need Helping Drafting a Will? Contact Our Firm Today!

At J. Roland Jeter, P.C., our attorney can help you navigate the estate planning process, including drafting a will. We understand how frightening thinking about life after you’ve passed on can be, but we also know how much you may want to help your family avoid legal stress and probate.

Known for being experienced and compassionate advocates for our clients, you can trust our firm to help you with your end-of-life plans regardless of the size of your estate. Our attorney also wants to help ensure your interests are protected and wishes are honored. While you may be tempted to draft a will on your own, having the help of our qualified attorney can help ensure your will is enforceable and addresses all the components of your estate.

Backed by over four decades of experience, our attorney is here to help you. Schedule a case consultation by calling 972-330-4050 or reaching out to us online today.

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