A lot of people think there’s always time to sit down with a Probate Attorney and write a will. Sometimes the worst happens. The will never got written and the family is left dealing with probate and Texas laws.
If You Have a Blended Family, You Really Need a Will
When there’s a blended family, assets may not be distributed as you would have wanted. Texas law applys a statutory formula which can result in unintended consequences. When there is no will, a spouse may not inherit as had been assumed.
Some Property Passes as Intended Without a Will
This property passes directly to the named beneficiary or the co-owner.
* Proceeds from life insurance
* Retirement accounts such as a 401(k) or IRA
* Assets in a living trust
* Bank accounts held as payable-on-death
* Property owned with another person, often the spouse, in joint tenancy
What Could Happen to Other Assets in a Blended Family
Bill dies leaving Jane and two children from Bill’s first marriage: Jane keeps 1/2 of the community property. The other half goes to Bill’s children. Bill’s separate personal property is divided with 1/3 going to Jane and 2/3 to Bill’s children.
Bill dies leaving separate real property, such as a home, in his name alone. Jane has a 1/3 life interest. The children divide 2/3.
Pam and Mike have been married 20 years, have two children of their own. Mike has two children from a past marriage. Mike leaves these assets and has no will:
* A vacation home he owned before he met Pam.
* Mike’s children will inherit it. Pam will have a 1/3 life interest, but won’t have unlimited access.
* A home purchased with Pam that they have always lived in.
* This is community property. Pam will be able to live in the home for the rest of her life, but Mike’s children will share ownership of 1/2 of the home.
* Stocks worth $400,000 purchased by both Pam and Mike during their marriage for their retirement.
* Pam will get 1/2 or $200,000. The remaining $200,000 will be split among the four children, Pam and Mike’s two and Mike’s two. Pam may not have enough for her retirement.
At the Law Office of Carey Thompson, you will find a Probate Attorney who is committed to personal service.