All is not lost if your loved one dies “intestate” (without a will). Texas has default inheritance rules in place for such an occurrence. Thus, if there is no will, or the decedent’s will is found to be invalid, the decedent’s heirs can still be determined and the decedent’s estate can still be probated.

Only assets that would have passed through a will are affected by intestate succession laws. Many valuable assets don’t go through a will, and aren’t affected by intestate succession laws. Here are some examples:

  • Property transferred to a living trust
  • Life insurance proceeds
  • Funds in an IRA, 401(k), or other retirement account
  • Payable-on-death bank accounts, or
  • Property you own with someone else in joint tenancy

These assets will pass to the surviving co-owner or to the beneficiary named, whether or not the decedent had a will.

For real estate and other property, however, one of the following probate administrations will be necessary.


To discuss your estate planning needs, please contact us for a Personal Consultation.