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What Happens if I Never Make an Estate Plan in Texas?

Posted on in Estate Planning and Probate

Texas estate planning lawyerPeople have a lot of different reasons for avoiding estate planning. Some are uncomfortable thinking about their mortality or the possibility that they could become incapacitated later in life. This is quite common. However, having a plan in place can actually alleviate some of the fear surrounding these things. Knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of when you are gone, or knowing that your wishes would be followed should you become incapacitated, may give you some peace of mind. 

If you have been reluctant to start the process of estate planning, now is the time. The sooner you get on board with this type of planning, the sooner you can stop worrying about it. With the help of a qualified estate attorney, the process may be faster and easier than you think. 

What if I Pass Away Without a Will or Trust?

Testamentary planning - deciding what will happen to your property when you are no longer here to enjoy it - can ease the stress on your loved ones at a time when they will be grieving. When you leave a will or trust, the process of administering your estate is likely to go relatively smoothly. However, if there is no testamentary plan in place, your family’s only option will be going through intestate probate. 

Intestate probate can have quite a few extra steps your family will have to take. Only your most immediate family members will inherit anything. If you did not make decisions about who gets what, your property will be distributed according to Texas’s intestacy laws. These laws can be intricate and a bit complex, but generally, your spouse and children take precedence if you have them. Otherwise, your parents are likely to inherit everything, followed by your siblings. 

If this is not what you want, or you would like someone you are not closely related to you would want to benefit, you need a testamentary plan. 

What Happens if I Do Not Have Powers of Attorney or a Living Will?

A strong incapacity plan involves powers of attorney for health care and finances, in addition to a living will or other advance directives. These documents are your voice when you are unable to speak for yourself. Should you become incapacitated without any of these documents, someone will have to make decisions for you. 

Your loved ones may need to go to court to get a conservatorship so they can manage your finances for you. Someone will need access to your bank accounts and benefits to pay health care and living expenses on your behalf. 

Someone will also need to be appointed to make medical decisions on your behalf. In Texas, this will likely be your spouse or adult children. This can be problematic in a variety of cases, for example, if there is a disagreement among your family members or you and your spouse get into a serious accident together. Without a living will, there is always a risk that your loved ones could make emotional decisions you would disagree with, like giving you life-prolonging treatment when you are terminally ill with poor quality of life. 

Call a Comal County Estate Planning Attorney

Geoff Mayfield, Attorney at Law can help you avoid these problems and more. Our experienced New Braunfels estate planning lawyers will guide you through the process of building a strong plan as quickly and painlessly as possible. Call 210-535-0870 for a free consultation. 



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