Inheritance Rights in Texas

by Robert A. Ray


Spouse Inheritance

Does a spouse inherit in Texas? Below you will find a discussion of the inheritance rights of a spouse in Texas.

Children Inheritance

Is there a difference between natural born or adopted children? Do illegitimate children have inheritance rights in Texas?

Distant Relatives

Do distant relatives—siblings, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins—have inheritance rights in Texas?

Start Here to Learn about Inheritance Rights in Texas

Inheritance rights in Texas are important if a person dies intestate (without a valid will).

Generally, a valid will determines who gets the decedent’s property. A valid will is one that is made when the testator (the person who makes a will) has the mental ability (testamentary capacity) to be able to make a will and is not being unduly influenced by someone to make a will that he would not make except for the undue influence.

But, if the will is contested and there is no prior will, then the testator dies intestate. More frequently than you would think, a person will make a will but the will does not dispose of all of the testator’s property. The testator does intestate as to the property not disposed of by the will.

What’s on this page?

On this page, you will find information about inheritance rights in various situations. Following the links will lead you to more information.

Always use the menu at the top to dig down into this website to answer your questions about Texas inheritance rights.

Do not take, or refrain from taking, any action based on what you read. You need to discuss your situation with your attorney who can advise you based on your facts.

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Inheritance Rights of Spouses

In the absence of a will, the spouse of the deceased has a legal claim to a portion of the estate, but what proportion of that estate depends on a number of factors including whether or not there were children, whose children they were, whether the deceased parents are still living, and whether or not the deceased had any (living) siblings.

To learn more about the inheritance rights of spouses, click here.

Children‘s Inheritance Rights in Texas

Where there is no will, or a will has been successfully contested, children inherit the bulk of the deceased’s estate. This is true of natural born children as well as adopted children.

Some cases involving illegitimate children, pretermitted (forgotten) children, or children whose adoptions weren’t official can sometimes be more complicated, though in most cases these children have equal inheritance rights to natural children.

To learn more about the inheritance rights of children, click here.

DNA evidence is starting to change the way court’s look at inheritance rights of children. You can read about it here and listen to our podcast.

Testate Succession

When a person dies with a valid will or an invalid will that has not been contested, his property goes to the persons named in the will.

Intestate Succession

When a person dies in Texas without a will, or when a will is successfully contested, his property goes through intestate succession if he does not have an older, valid will that can be probated. You may find yourself wondering what happens to that person’s estate (their belongings, finances, etc). What are Texas inheritance laws regarding intestate succession? How is it split and who has rights to it?

This article will get you started in the right direction to learn more about your rights. We’ve included links to more information to help you find what you need to know for your unique situation.

Property Subject to Probate in Texas

Not all property is treated the same under inheritance laws. The kind of property owned at death as well as the form in which it is held determine to whom the property is distributed at death.

For instance, if you have a life insurance policy, you will have someone named as a beneficiary. The person named beneficiary on that account will receive those benefits rather than the funds being distributed by inheritance law. The same applies to bank accounts, retirement accounts, etc. if they have a beneficiary named.

For more information on how property is categorized under the law, view this article:

Kind of Texas Property that is Inherited if You Die Intestate.

Robert Ray

Board Certified, Personal Injury Trial Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization. We handle cases all across Texas. Our principal office is in Lantana, Texas (DFW area).

Robert Ray is a Texas attorney who handles inheritance disputes

Why Us?

Inheritance disputes involve someone who has taken advantage of the elderly. These cases are complicated and most often, but not always, involve outsiders. We represent you knowing that these inheritance disputes are private and painful family matters. We know this is a stressful time for you. We strive to obtain the quickest and best results possible so that you can get this troubling episode behind you.

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Lantana, Texas
In the DFW area


(214) 660-5700

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