Strictly speaking, creating an estate plan isn’t necessary for someone to ensure that their immediate family receives the property from their estate. In theory, all adults in Texas have protection if they die without a will on record.
State statute establishes intestate succession rules that determine how your property will pass to your family members after your death. Intestate succession laws prioritize the rights of your dependent family members, including your children and your spouse.
While many parents assume that such laws will provide baseline protection if they die without a will, intestate succession laws have two significant shortcomings.
There’s no nuance to property division
A child with special needs might require more support as they mature than their neurotypical siblings. If you have a change-of-life baby, you may feel as though their older siblings have already benefited from your financial support and that your new child would need more resources. The rules for intestate succession are straightforward and lack the nuance that would benefit your family.
There’s no protection for minor children
If you and your spouse both pass, your estate will become the property of your children. Until your children are 18 years of age or older, their guardian will have control over their assets. The obvious issue is that their guardian might embezzle from their resources or squander those assets by mismanaging them while your children are young.
If you take the time to plan, you can put better protections in place for your children. Identifying the shortcomings of relying on state probate law can motivate parents to create more personalized estate documents.