Who inherits in Texas

by Robert A. Ray



This article will discuss the inheritance rights of a spouse in Texas. This includes formal spouses as well as common law.


Under what circumstances do children inherit in Texas? Inheritance rights of natural, adopted and illegitimate children.

Distant Relatives

The inheritance rights of siblings, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, and cousins in Texas.

Who inherits in Texas?

First, we have to answer the following:

  1. Is there a will? If yes, the will determines who inherits.
  2. If there is no will, is there a surviving spouse? If yes, what the surviving spouse inherits may depend on if there are children.
  3. Are there children? They may inherit depending on the status of a surviving wife.
  4. If there is no surviving spouse and no children, are there living parents?
  5. If there are no living parents, are there living siblings or descendants of deceased siblings?
  6. If there is no spouse, children, parents, siblings or descendants of siblings, then all goes to distant relatives like cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.
  7. If there are no relatives at all, all escheats to the state.

Let’s take these inheritance rights in order:

  1. Is self explanatory. If there is a will that is not contested, it determines who inherits.
  2. If there is no will and there is a surviving spouse, what she inherits depends on if there are children. If all the children of the decedent are also children of the spouse, the spouse will inherit all the community property and an interest in the separate property. The children will inherit most fo the separate property. On the other hand, if there are children of the decedent that are not the children of the surviving spouse, the children will inherit most of the estate and the spouse will inherit some interest but not a large part.
  3. If there are children and a surviving wife, see No. 2. If there is no surviving wife, the children take all.
  4. 5. 6. and 7 if there is not a surviving spouse and no children, you work back up the family tree to the parents, then siblings then cousins, etc. If none of those can be found, all the property goes to the state.

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.

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.

Some articles from our blog are set out below.

Thanks for visiting!

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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