According to reports, up to 70% of Americans do not have a Will in place. It’s not just that most people simply don’t know how to write a Will. In fact, I often ask people what has prevented them from getting a Will and the answer I most commonly hear is either ‘I’m not rich; I don’t need a will!’ or ‘Texas has laws that give my money to my family and that’s what I want anyway, so why should I spend money getting a Will?’
Many people assume that if they die without a will the state laws of Texas will intercede on their behalf and their final wishes will be fulfilled. That’s true – to a point! Texas law, called intestate succession, does essentially write a Will for you after you die. The Will Texas writes for you would look something like this:
I, John Doe, a married man and father of two children, with full testamentary capacity, intend to make the following designations of my estate upon my passing.
- I want my wife to get a third of all my property and my two children should each get a third as well.
- In order for my wife to access any of the assets that I left her, I want her to pay to hire an attorney, pay court costs and fees to open a determination of heirship proceeding in probate court, and pay another attorney to represent the interests of any unknown heirs that may exist, regardless of whether or not any actually exist.
- Additionally, I want the courts to continue to be involved in the affairs of my private estate for many years to come, so I require that my wife will report to the probate court every year with an accounting of what, where, when, and how she spent any of the money I left to care for our children.
- The day my children turn 18, they will be legally entitled to not only demand an accounting from their mother of exactly how she used any money from the 2/3 portion of my estate that I left in order to raise them, but they will also be entitled to demand that any money or assets remaining be given to them in full without any kind of restrictions, spending safeguards, or oversight.
- If at some point after my passing, my wife decides to remarry and then dies without executing a Will then her husband will get one third of my estate regardless of whether or not it is needed to care for my children.
- If my wife were to die before me, then I want all my relatives to get together and decide amongst themselves who will care for my children. If they can’t all agree, then I want a judge to make the final decision and possibly hire a stranger who will get paid to oversee how my money is spent.
- Finally, I want my wife to not only be required to post a bond with the court but also be required to ask the judge for permission before she is be allowed to sell any of my assets, even if the title has her name on it too.
So, if this doesn’t look like the Will you would write for yourself, then I suggest you get a Will made that does outline who will take care of your children if you are no longer here, how your children’s money will be managed, how your personal property will be distributed, and who will make health care decisions for you if you are unable to.
Knowing how to write a Will is important if you wish to have more control over how your assets are distributed. This is why you need an attorney that specializes in handling these matters, one who knows how to write a Will that clearly defines your wishes.
Contact us today for a consultation.