Who Inherits When A Married Person Dies Without a Will in Texas?
Many Texans think that the surviving spouse will inherit all of a deceased spouse’s estate if there is no will. This is NOT always the fact. Here is how the property will be divided.
Texas has a a presumption that all property acquired during a marriage is community property.
Under Texas laws, when a spouse dies and all of the deceased spouse’s children are also the surviving spouse’s children:
The surviving spouse will inherit all of the deceased spouse’s community property. This will happen only IF ALL children are also the children of the deceased spouse.
Under Texas laws, when a spouse dies and the deceased spouse has children that are not the children of the surviving spouse:
The deceased spouse’s one-half interest in the community estate will pass to that spouse’s children and the surviving spouse will keep his or her one-half interest in the community property.
Homestead Real Property
The surviving spouse will have a life estate in the homestead. This means that the surviving spouse will have the right to use the property until his or her death.
If the deceased spouse does not have any children, then the surviving spouse will inherit all of your community property.
Separate property is property that you owned before marriage, or acquired, even during a marriage, by gift or inheritance. The intestate distribution formula is different for separate property:
If you are married and have children, the personal property and real property are handled differently.
The surviving spouse and children will receive one third of your separate personal property.
The surviving spouse will only receive a life estate (the right to use the property until his or her death) in one-third of your separate real property. The surviving children inherit the remaining interest outright.
If you are married but don’t have children, your separate personal property will be distributed to your surviving spouse . However, if you have surviving parents and siblings, your surviving spouse will receive only one-half of the separate real property. The other half will pass to your parents, siblings or descendants of siblings according to a statutory formula.
If you want the freedom to decide how and to whom your property will be distributed when you die, you need a will. For assistance creating a will or updating one that you may already have, please contact Cynthia Fronterhouse of Nimmons & Fronterhouse.