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MY PARENT REMARRIED. WILL THE NEW SPOUSE INHERIT EVERYTHING?

Redding Law Office July 29, 2022

Remarriage is a growing trend in Texas and across the United States. For many children, seeing their divorced or widowed parents find love once again and remarry is a thing of joy. At the same time, remarriage may also be a cause for concern. When a parent remarries, the children often wonder whether the new spouse will inherit everything in their remarried parent's estate. An experienced Texas estate planning attorney can inform you about how remarrying can affect children's inheritance when a remarried parent dies intestate. 

Redding Law Office is committed to providing dependable advocacy and personalized legal guidance to clients in estate planning and probate-related matters. Attorney Chelsea Redding has the knowledge to enlighten you about your inheritance rights when your parent dies intestate after remarrying. The firm is proud to serve clients across Southlake, Denton County, and Tarrant County, as well as the surrounding cities of Colleyville, Flower Mound, and Keller, Texas. 

Dying Without a Will 

Dying without an estate plan or valid will is referred to as "dying intestate." When someone dies without a will in Texas, the decedent's estate will be administered using the state's intestate succession laws. The deceased person's estate will go through the probate process

During probate, the Texas court will appoint an administrator (executor) to oversee the probate process. They will collect and evaluate the deceased person's assets, pay debts and taxes, and distribute the remaining assets to rightful beneficiaries in accordance with Texas's intestate succession laws. 

Texas Intestate Succession Law 

Texas intestate succession law is used to administer the estate of a person who died without a will or estate plan. To inherit under the intestate succession law, a person must outlive the decedent by 120 hours. Intestate succession in Texas is governed by Texas Estate Code Section 201.001 - 003

Assets Subject to Succession 

In Texas, only the assets and property that would have been included in your last will and testament would be subject to intestate succession. Generally, these include assets that are solely in your name. Examples are: 

  • Motor vehicles 

  • Homes and real property 

  • Cash 

  • Investments 

  • Bank accounts 

  • Businesses 

  • Artwork 

  • Savings 

  • Jewelry 

  • Money market accounts 

  • Furniture pieces 

  • Royalties 

  • Memorabilia, and 

  • Other separate personal property 

Conversely, the following assets won't go through your will and won't be affected by Texas intestate succession laws: 

  • Trust assets 

  • Payable-on-death bank accounts 

  • Life insurance proceeds 

  • Retirement accounts 

  • Property owned through joint tenancy 

An experienced Texas probate attorney can enlighten you about assets that are subject to intestate succession and determine what you may be entitled to. 

Who Gets What 

When a married person dies intestate in Texas – with a surviving spouse and children from another relationship – the following intestate succession laws will apply – the surviving spouse will receive: 

  • One-half of the community property. 

  • One-third of the decedent's separate property. 

  • The right to use one-third of the decedent's real estate for their lifetime. 

The decedent's surviving children – including children from the current and previous marriage/relationship – will receive everything else, including the other half of the community property. 

Children's Inheritance Rights in Texas 

Under Texas law, if a person dies intestate with children, their surviving children will inherit all of the decedent's separate property equally. However, if any child passes away before you, their children (your grandchildren) will inherit their share. If the child has no children, the asset will pass to your other surviving children. 

Put an Experienced Probate Attorney On Your Side 

When a widowed or divorced parent who remarries dies, the children from a prior marriage are often concerned about losing their inheritance. In the event that the parent dies without an estate plan, their estate will be administered using the state's intestate succession law. Therefore, if you are the child of a remarried parent whose estate is going through probate, retaining a skilled estate planning attorney is crucial for proper guidance and to protect your legal rights.  

Attorney Chelsea Redding has devoted her career to providing outstanding legal services and guiding clients through the complexities of probate and intestate succession regarding remarried parents' estate. As your legal counsel, she can review every aspect of your unique situation and enlighten you about what you're entitled to under Texas's intestate succession law.  

Contact Redding Law Office today to schedule a simple consultation with an experienced probate lawyer. Attorney Chelsea Redding has the detailed legal counsel and reliable advocacy you need. The firm proudly serves clients across Southlake, Denton County, and Tarrant County, as well as the surrounding cities of Colleyville, Flower Mound, and Keller, Texas.