I have previously written about the causes of the recent increase in will contest and other inheritance disputes. In a recent article, International Adviser also reported on this issue. At the beginning of the article, the writer talks about the increase in inheritance disputes because of the world-wide economic recession. The theory being that as property values decrease as the result of the recession, people are more likely to contest a will. They feel that they are being short-changed and want more of the property.
After this introduction, the article goes on to discuss what I believe is the real reason for any increase in inheritance disputes. While the economy does play a part, the major reason for the increase, in my experience, is the changing nature of the family. As the article points out, the law has failed to keep up with the change. Intestate inheritance laws, the laws that determine who gets the property when there is no will or when the will is contested and set aside, leave the property only to the traditional family members even if the traditional family members had nothing to do with the deceased person. For instance, step-children don’t inherit no matter what their relationship to the deceased. A life long partner does not inherit. But distant traditional relatives like great nieces and nephews still retain the right to inherit from a distant ancestor even if they didn’t know the person.
The article also points out that people are more legally “savvy” today than in the past. People know their rights or can find them easily on the internet. The way to avoid the application of the intestacy laws is to have a will. Valid wills determine who gets the property without regard to family relationships. If you don’t have a will, get one. Don’t prepare a will yourself. That is a sure way to insure a will contest. We don’t prepare wills so this is not a plea to make us money. It is a plea for each person to determine in advance who gets their property. Don’t let the state decide!
Copyright by Robert Ray a Texas inheritance attorney. The foregoing information is general in nature and does not apply to every fact situation. If you are concerned about inheritance laws, inheritance rights, have a family inheritance dispute, a property dispute or want information about contesting a will and need an inheritance lawyer, we can help. Please go to our main site www.texasinheritance.com and use the contact form to contact us today. We are Texas inheritance lawyers and would love to learn about your case and there is no fee for the initial consultation.