Does a Spouse Automatically Inherit Everything in Texas?
When a person dies in Texas, probate is often required to settle the decedent's final affairs and distribute the estate's assets to beneficiaries and heirs. However, if the person died intestate – without a valid will or estate plan – the state's intestate succession laws will determine who would inherit the deceased person's assets and property.
Attorney Chelsea Redding walks clients – in either situation – through all matters involving estate planning. As a seasoned Texas estate planning attorney, Chelsea can tell you about the state's intestate succession laws and determine the share of the estate that will go to the decedent's surviving spouse.
The firm proudly serves clients across Southlake, Denton County, and Tarrant County, as well as the surrounding cities of Keller, Flower Mound, and Colleyville, Texas.
Understanding Intestate Succession
Intestate succession is the legal process that occurs when a person dies without a valid will or other estate planning documents. There is a certain order of priority in which the deceased person's heirs will receive assets and property from the decedent's estate.
When Does Intestate Succession Apply?
Intestate succession will apply in the following situations:
A person dies without a valid will and no named beneficiaries and heirs.
The named beneficiaries and heirs died prior to estate administration.
If your loved one has passed away without a valid will, you need to reach out to a reliable Texas probate attorney for help. Your legal counsel can inform you about the state's intestate succession laws and help you through tough decisions.
Intestate Succession in Texas
Under Texas intestate succession rules, who gets what usually depends on whether the deceased person is survived by a spouse, children, parents, or other close relatives. Here are some important provisions of the state's intestate succession statutes:
If you die with a spouse only, your surviving spouse will inherit all your assets.
If you die with children but no spouse, your surviving children will inherit all your property.
If you die with parents but no spouse, children, or siblings, your surviving parents will inherit everything.
If you die with siblings, but no spouse, children, or parents, your surviving siblings will inherit everything.
If you die with a spouse and children you had together, your spouse will inherit all your community property, plus one-third of your separate personal property, and the right to use your real estate for life. Your children will inherit the remaining assets.
If you die with a spouse and children from another relationship, your spouse will inherit half of your community property, one-third of your separate personal property, and the right to use your real estate for life. Your children will inherit half of your community property and the remaining assets.
If you die with a spouse and parents, your spouse will inherit all your community property, all your separate personal property, and half of your separate real estate. Your parent will inherit the remaining assets.
If you die with parents and siblings but no spouse, your parent will inherit half of your separate property, and your siblings will share the remaining half equally.
If you die with a spouse and siblings but no parents, your spouse will inherit all your community property, all your separate personal property, and half of your separate real estate. Your parent will inherit the remaining assets.
If you die without a valid will and no other family member or close relative, your property will "escheat." This means that the state of Texas will inherit your property.
A trusted attorney can evaluate the surrounding circumstances of your situation and help identify assets that are affected by intestate succession laws.
Which Assets Are Subject to Intestate Succession?
Generally, all your probate assets will be subject to intestate succession. These include:
Assets owned exclusively in the deceased person's name, such as real estate properties and motor vehicles.
A share of property that is owned as "tenants in common."
Personal belongings, including clothing, jewelry, art collections, and household items.
An experienced lawyer can help distinguish between probate and non-probate assets and enlighten you about some other intestate succession rules.
Additional Intestate Succession Provisions in Texas
Here are some additional intestate succession provisions in Texas:
A beneficiary or heir must outlive the decedent by at least 120 hours to inherit from their estate under Texas's intestate succession laws.
If the decedent was survived by half-relatives only, they would share the deceased person's assets equally.
Relatives conceived prior to but born after your death will receive part of your estate, provided that they were in utero prior to your demise and survived for more than 120 hours after their birth.
All eligible relatives, including citizens, documented, and undocumented immigrants, can inherit from the deceased person's estate.
A skilled probate attorney can advocate for your loved one's rights during the intestate succession process and help them make informed decisions.
Reliable Legal Guidance
Creating a valid will, living trust, and estate plan will allow you to control who will inherit your property and assets when you're gone. Attorney Chelsea Redding can help you through the entire process while keeping your best interests in mind. Chelsea can help draft all of your important documents and establish a comprehensive estate plan that meets your unique needs.
Contact Redding Law Office today to schedule an initial case evaluation with a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer. Attorney Chelsea Redding has the dedicated advocacy and legal counsel you need to make informed decisions in your estate planning matters. The firm proudly serves clients across Southlake, Denton County, and Tarrant County, as well as the surrounding cities of Keller, Flower Mound, and Colleyville, Texas.