It’s not easy to think about death. However, without the proper estate planning documents, your loved ones can be thrown into the mess of settling an estate with no Will. Our stories below are examples of just that – the horrors of dying without a Will.
Divorced Never Finalized
Sarah’s husband abruptly died without a Will. This was a second marriage for both Sarah and her husband. Upon Sarah calling our office, we began investigating the heirship of her husband’s estate. We found out that his previous divorce which was filed over 12 years earlier was never finalized. Therefore, we had to break the news to Sarah that her and her late husband were never legally married and all of what she thought was their community property was in fact, not. Since his divorce was not properly finalized, the home that she and her late husband bought when they married 10 years ago was now owned half by Sarah and half by his previous wife.
...If only her husband would have had a Will.
Jarod’s wife was terminally ill and passed away without creating a Last Will and Testament. Before the couple met, she had a child and put the child up for adoption. She had little contact with the child as the years went on.
Jarod and his wife were married for a little over 30 years and accumulated a number of community property assets including their home. Jarod called our office for assistance regarding the probate of his wife’s estate. After researching the matter, we had to inform him that their community assets, including their home, were only half his and the other half was owned by her child that was adopted out.
...If only his wife would have had a Will.
Common Law Marriage
Lisa contacted our office following the death of her Father. Lisa’s Father died without a Will. We looked into her Father’s estate and found that he was not married at the time of his death and had only 2 children: his daughter Lisa and his son Brett, both adults. We also found out that 6 months before his death, he had moved in with his girlfriend of 2 years. During our investigation, her Father’s girlfriend filed probate proceedings naming herself as the common law spouse. We had to tell Lisa and her brother that if she was successful with the filing, she would receive part of his estate.
...If only their Father would have had a Will.
If the parties in the stories above would have taken the time to draft and sign a Last Will and Testament, their estate and assets would have gone to exactly who they chose and would have saved their loved ones stress, time, and money. Having the proper estate planning documents in place can save your loved ones from experiencing one of these horror stories!
If you need the assistance of an estate planning attorney in the Dallas area, we can help!
Call our office at 214-559-7202 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.