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Tell Me How I’m Supposed To Breathe With No Heir - by Daniel L. O’Neil

by News Editor
in Blog
on 08 July 2016
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The legal jargon is that if you left behind a valid Texas Will, you died testate. But if you did not leave behind a valid Texas Will, you died intestate. And in some cases you left behind a Will that wasn’t super great so you have a partial intestacy. 

Today we are talking about intestacy again, continuing on the conversation we started last year with “What happens without a valid Texas Will” , took a look at the Hickey boys, and then followed up with posts on musicians Prince  and Snoop Doog.

An important part of the additional court proceedings that can easily be avoided with a valid Texas Will, but you force your family to go through if you don’t have the Will, is the determination of heirship. Heirship with the ‘h’ and not the cooler one zooming around the sky, or perhaps the coolest one of all in videogame history as the USS Constitution helmed by Captain Ironsides and his fancy (but assuredly not pretty floral) bonnet in Fallout 4.

There are a variety of Applications you can make under the Texas Estates Code. If there is no need to administer the estate for whatever reason (usually a legal determination, not just hopes and dreams to avoid it and the expenses/frustration that go along with it) then perhaps the Application is just to determine heirship. Or if the necessity exists to administer the estate then that can be combined in the same Application along with the request for Letters of Administration. However the heirship component has some unique, specific requirements of its own so if you combine Applications you need to make sure you address all of the specific heirship stuff.

As with all legal stuff you take care of serving people or they waive service. The citation by publication happens. The ad litem is appointed who investigates the family history and basic biographical facts. You need to find two disinterested witnesses who are capable of testifying in court concerning facts of the family and the decedent. We mean financially disinterested, as in they are not a creditor or a distributee of the estate, as common examples.

How smoothly the determination of heirship goes principally depends on the dynamics of the family. The ad litem appointed also helps drive how smoothly things will go. There can always be bumps in the road, some expected and some unexpected. But when the determination of heirship is necessary it is better to get started sooner than later.

If you have a valid Texas Will in place you can avoid all of this. So please call us if we can help you get a Will in place before it is too late. Or if a loved one has passed away without a Will and there is a need to determine heirship, please give us a call if we can help your family get that process started today. Nothing is more important than your family, no matter what your family unit looks like!

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