Are Their Children?
A spouse’s inheritance rights in Texas may depend on whether the deceased children had children.
Does a spouse inherit in Texas
Whether a spouse inherits in Texas is more complicated than it seems. Is there a will? Are their children? What kind of property is involved, community property or separate property? All of these things determine the inheritance rights of a spouse.
The discussions below are about the right of a spouse to inherit in different circumstances.
If you have a question about a pending or anticipated lawsuit about contesting a will in Texas, use the Contact Us page at the top of the site to see if we can help.
Factors to Determine if a Spouse Inherits
These discussions are in general terms and may not apply in all situations.
Is there a will?
If there is a will that is not contested, the will determines who inherits. If the will gives property to the spouse then they inherit. If the will does not give property to the spouse, they don’t inherit. Texas doesn’t have forced heirship.
Determining what property is owned is the first step in deciding what a spouse inherits. Texas is a community property state. That means that everything acquired during marriage is presumed to be community property owned one half by the husband an one half by the wife. A spouse can only dispose of their half of the community property. They can’t dispose of their spouse’s one half. Separate property is everything owned before marriage and everything acquired during marriage by gift or inheritance.
Are there children?
Does the decedent have children and if so, is the surviving spouse the parent of all of the children? If there are any children of the decedent who are not the children of the surviving spouse, then the children will inherit most of the estate. However, if all of the children of the decedent are also children of the surviving spouse, then the spouse will inherit the community property and the children will inherit some or all of the separate property.
So what does this all mean?
We started of with a strong answer of “maybe” to the question of “Does a spouse inherit in Texas?” From the above discussion you see that it is more complicated than you would think. Every fact situation is different and you should not take, or refrain from taking, any action based on what you read. You should talk to your attorney about your situation to understand what your rights are.
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Does a spouse inherit if the other spouse dies intestate without a will? It’s complicated based on many factors including: are there children? What type of property is involved? Is there a formal or informal (common law) marriage?
A will must dispose of all property in all circumstances. If it doesn’t, then the laws of intestate succession will determine who gets the property.
Heirship proceeding are different from will contest. If more than four years have passed, it may be difficult, but may not impossible, to gain the inheritance that someone else has that should be the heirs. This is complicated, involving heirship proceedings but there is a possibility that it can be done.
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