Following the death of a loved one, the last thing a grieving family should have to deal with is the courts when it comes to the deceased's estate. Unfortunately, families throughout the United States, including many from Katy, Texas and the greater Houston area, often have to deal with such issues if the person's estate planning was not properly addressed before their death.
Though the importance of estate planning has been spelled out many times not only on this very blog space but through the media as well, with legal disputes arising over property in the case of celebrity deaths, many Texas residents still do not focus on the distribution of their assets after they pass away. Without a will in place, state laws, known as intestate laws, apply, and assets are given to surviving relatives according to a specified order.
Texas residents want the best for their children and family members. This is why many of them engage in estate planning. After all, it helps them ensure their wishes are being fulfilled while taking care of their heirs. One of the most common steps, and the one many people take first, is creating a will. However, it is not as easy as just sitting down and deciding how assets, income, and property will be divided, as every state has specific last will and testament laws and if they are not met, it could result in an invalid will.
When a person in Texas loses a loved one, their loved one's estate may be subject to probate. During the probate process, the court determines the validity of the will, if there is one, and administer the distribution of property and debt. If the deceased does not have an estate plan, then the court will use state guidelines to determine who will inherit the deceased's property.