What Happens to my Estate if I Die Without a Will in Texas?
When you spend your life working hard to build up wealth, you may want to pass it on to your loved ones or to see it used for charitable purposes. People who want to direct what happens with their property after their death typically write wills. But what happens to your estate if you die without a will?
Interstate Laws in Texas
The person or people who inherit your property if you die without a will in Texas will depend on what surviving family members you leave behind.
If you pass away without a will and you do not have a surviving spouse or surviving child, or a descendent of a child your property will pass to:
- Your surviving parent(s) if you have no surviving siblings
- If you have surviving siblings, your surviving parent will receive one half of your estate, with the remaining half of your estate divided equally among your siblings (or a sibling’s descendants if your sibling predeceased you)
- If your parents predeceased you and you have surviving siblings, they will receive your entire estate in equal shares
- If you have no surviving parents or siblings, your estate will be divided in half, with your closest living relatives on your mother’s side receiving one half and the other half going to your closest living relatives on your father’s side.
If you pass away without a surviving spouse, but you have surviving descendants, they will receive your entire estate. If you had a child that predeceases you, their share of your estate will be divided equally among that child’s descendants.
If you leave a surviving spouse, your spouse will inherit all your community property if you have no children or if all your children are shared with your spouse. If you have children from another partner, they will receive one half of your community property, and your spouse will receive the other half. Your surviving spouse will receive one-third of your separate personal property and a life estate in one-third of your separate real property. Your children will receive the rest. If you do not have surviving descendants, your spouse will receive one half of your separate real property, with the other half passing to surviving parents and/or siblings.
If you have no living relatives, the intestacy law passes your estate to the State of Texas.
The Importance of a Will
If you pass away without a will, you do not get to decide how your property is distributed. You may want to ensure that certain family members receive more of your estate or receive certain pieces of property. Or you may want to pass property to a close friend or donate some of or all your estate to charity after you pass away. Only a will can allow you to direct what happens to your estate after your death.
While drafting a will is an important part of any estate plan, it is equally important to regularly review and update your will to reflect changes to your wealth and your family. If any bequest in your will fails, such as when a beneficiary predeceases you, then that property becomes subject to Texas’s intestacy law.
How We Can Help
When you’ve decided that you need a will to help ensure that your assets and wealth are passed on according to your wishes, the attorneys of Hargrave Law, PC can help you by:
- Discussing your estate planning options with you
- Sitting down with you for a deep discussion to better understand your goals
- Drafting a will and other estate planning documents that help you ensure your estate is distributed as you intend
- Making sure that your plan complies with Texas law
If you need help with drafting a well, reach out to Hargrave Law, PC, for an initial consultation. You can speak with our Texas estate planning attorneys to discuss the importance of having a will. We can help you better understand your options for planning to provide for your loved ones after your passing. Call us today at (866) 444-4606.