It is common for people to think they do not need a will. This may be especially true for younger people or people in good health. Some people put off drafting a will thinking they will not need it in the immediate future, while others simply prefer to not think of end-of-life matters due to their unpleasant nature.
No matter your age or health, there are several reasons why having a will is important. If you die without a will, your property goes through the probate process, rather than being distributed according to your wishes through an executor, which is a person you appoint to handle the property distribution.
You may be unconcerned with this if you don’t own much property to begin with; however, property does not mean only things with monetary value. You may have an old collection of family photos that you would like your children or another family member to have, but without a will, those photos will end up going through the probate process.
Additionally, pets are considered personal property. Without a will, one or more of your beloved pets could end up going to someone you would not prefer.
A will helps you avoid probate
The probate process in Texas is often costly and lengthy. If you are married and die without a will, before the probate process even begins, your property must be classified as separate property or community property.
Separate property is property that belonged to you prior to marriage, while community property is property acquired during marriage. Any gifts, inheritances or personal injury settlements in your name may also be considered separate property.
Once the property is classified, it will be divided among spouses, children or other relatives, according to the complex probate rules. Property includes things like bank accounts, retirement funds and personal property.
Although drafting a will may sound cumbersome, and not be a priority, an experienced estate planning attorney can make the process simple and straightforward. You will then have peace of mind knowing that your property will be safe and secure if something unexpected occurs.