A person’s sudden death can have detrimental effects on their loved ones. If they have no will, the situation can easily become ugly as family may squabble over who gets what. Dying without a will is referred to as intestate. What this means is that the deceased obviously has no say in which members of their family or friends will receive personal belongings and other items left behind. The assets will immediately go into probate, in which a legal process determines who receives the items of the deceased. If no will is written, the items, by law, will immediately be split amongst the deceased’s immediate family (wife/husband, children).
If a person dies without leaving a will, and is single with no children, then the assets are to be split amongst any surviving blood relatives by the state. This process can tend to be extremely drawn out, sometimes lasting years. Not only that, family members tend to quarrel over who gets mom’s diamond necklace or dad’s BMW, for example.
One way to avoid the hassle of probate is by a revocable trust. This type of trust allows the owner of the assets to hand over the responsibilities of dealing with their possessions to a trusted person, referred to as a beneficiary. The trust can be changed at any time during the person’s lifetime, but becomes final upon their death. Afterwards, the beneficiary, usually a close family member or even the family attorney, determines who gets the deceased belongings.
The person may also establish a living will, which stipulates if a person wishes to prolong their life artificially in the case of an accident or illness. The living will is also associated with a “health care proxy”, which establishes a trusted person to make decisions for the incapacitated.
If you have any questions regarding wills or would like to establish one, contact Barrera, Sanchez and Associates, P.C. at (956) 287-7555. You may also visit us at 10113 N. 10th Street, Suite A, McAllen, TX.