Does a spouse inherit in Texas? Maybe…
Published by Robert A. 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.
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.
Let Us Help You
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.
Articles Discussing a Spouse’s Inheritance Rights
Gift deeds are valid in Texas but there are requirements above and beyond what is required of a normal deed. A gift deed is a document that transfers title to land. It can be informal but the intent of the grantor must be to immediately divest himself of the property....
In Texas, joint accounts are accounts, usually with a financial institution, where more than one person has rights to the account. Deciding what those rights are is a problem often faced in contested probate cases. Are they survivorship accounts where the survivor...
Introduction When a person dies who owns a home and has a spouse or dependent children, Texas limits how the owner can dispose of the home. This article will discuss the basics of the Texas homestead and what rights a surviving spouse or dependent children have. Texas...
When several people are left property, the easiest way to divide the property is to sell it and then divide the proceeds. Often, that procedure runs into difficulty especially when you have one recalcitrant heir who refuses to sell. A 2019 case highlighted some of the...
What are deathbed marriages in Texas Deathbed or predatory marriages are when someone such as a friend, a caregiver or other person, by hook or by crook, marries the elderly person. I have written about those situations on my blog. The marriage is not based on the...
What does a Texas spouse inherit? If there is a will, the will determines what property a spouse inherits. If there is no will, what a spouse inherits is determined by the type of property in the estate and what other heirs of the deceased exist. A review of the...