Does a spouse inherit in Texas? Maybe…

Published by Robert A. Ray

– Robert Ray

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.

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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.

No Forced Heirship In Texas

Community or separate property?

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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Robert Ray is Board Certified

Robert Ray is the Editor and owner of this site. Board Certified, Personal Injury Trial Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization. We handle cases throughout Texas. Our principal office is in Lantana, Texas (DFW area).
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