Start Here to Learn About Texas Inheritance

Robert Ray

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, click here.

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.

Inheritance Rights of Family Members Other Than Spouses and Children

Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and others are heirs for the purpose of distributing the estate of the deceased if he died intestate and if the deceased had no spouse or children. Even if the deceased had a spouse but no children, the other relatives may be entitled to some of the property. The rule is, if you can’t go down the family tree because there are no children, you go up then out on to the branches to determine who inherits.


The rest of this article is the old webpage that we had in place of the information that you just read. You can read it although you will see that it is a repeat of what has been said. The above information is an easier read and less lawyerly than the paragraphs below but they contain essentially the same information.



When a persons dies without a will or when a will is successfully contested , the laws of descent and distribution determine who inherits the estate of the decedent.  In this general article, we will lead you to answers as to the types of property subject to inheritance as well as the inheritance rights of spouses, children and other family members.

Property subject to 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 on death.

Inheritance rights of spouses

Inheritance rights of natural children

  1. Adopted children.
  2. Adopted children’s inheritance from their biological parents also here.
  3. Forgotten or pretermitted children.
  4. Illegitimate children also here.

Inheritance rights of family members other than spouses and children

If you don’t see what you are looking for, try the search function.

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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).

Robert Ray Texas Inheritance

Click here to email us or to go to the contact form if you want to contact us about a Texas inheritance dispute.


Lantana, Texas
In the DFW area


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Robert Ray

Robert Ray handles inheritance disputes of all kinds. He takes cases throughout Texas.
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