1) Choose How Your Estate Will Be Distributed
If you don’t decide how you want your estate
distributed, the state of Texas will decide for you.
It may not be at all what you want (see next slide).
2) Less Expensive Than Dying Without A Will
If you own real estate or other assets on which you
cannot designate payable on death or beneficiary
designations, administration of your estate without
a will is many times more expensive than having a
will and probating the will.
3) You Can Choose Who Administers Your Estate
If you do not specify in a will who you want as
executor of the estate, you leave to chance who a
court will be forced to decide is the appropriate
person. State law lists persons in order of priority
who are eligible for appointment. These may not
be the ones you would choose.
4) You Can Choose A Guardian For Your
If you do not specify in a will who you would
want to serve as guardian of the person and of
the estate of your minor children if both parents
die, a long, expensive, highly emotional court
battle might be required to decide this.
The guardianship remains in effect for 18 years,
with yearly expense and hassle. And, when the child
turns 18, the estate has to be distributed to him or
her, whether mature enough or not.
5) You Can Say How And When Your Children
You can specify in your will at what age or ages
and upon what conditions (staying in college,
making good grades, being drug free) your
children will receive inheritance. Without a will,
even adult children (18 years old) receive their
total inheritance all at once, condition free.
6) You Can Restrict Your Surviving Spouse’s
Right To Change The Estate Plan After
If you die before your spouse, he or she could
completely change all beneficiaries unless you
have placed restrictions on the right to do so in
7) You Can Provide For Stepchildren Or
Grandchildren As Beneficiaries
If you die without a will, Texas law does not
provide any inheritance for stepchildren or
grandchildren. If you want them to receive directly
from your estate, you must provide so in a will.
8) You Can Omit A Beneficiary To Prevent Their
Losing Government Benefits
Sometimes, it is better to provide in your will that a
beneficiary who would be entitled to inherit under
intestate law (dying without a will) receives nothing.
Otherwise, the inheritance might cause him or her
to become disqualified from receiving significantly
larger government benefits.
9) You Can Provide More For Certain Beneficiaries
Than The Law Would Allow
You may wish for one beneficiary, for example a child
with special needs, or a more distant relative than a
child, who has provided care for you, to receive
inheritance that intestate law would not allow.
10) You Can Speed Up The Process Of Estate
Settlement And Avoid Litigation
A properly-drawn will provides for “independent
administration”, which is much faster than
traditional estate administration. You also can
include a clause which disinherits any potential
beneficiary who contests or challenges the will or
any provision of the will.
If you would like to explore how having a will could benefit you, contact
Adair M. Buckner, Attorney At Law.
Read more about estate planning & probate at adairbuckner.com/legal-blog