When a person dies without a will, that person is said to have died “intestate”. If you do not have a will, your property will pass pursuant to Texas’ intestacy provisions. Depending on the type of asset, it may be excluded from the intestacy laws and pass to your survivors or named beneficiaries even in the absence of a will. Otherwise, the state will determine who will receive which portions of your property, taking a number of factors into account, e.g., marriage status, how many children you have, and your closest living relatives.
Texas is a community property state, which means that it recognizes property that was acquired while you were married as community property of the marriage. Generally speaking, separate property is property that either spouse acquired before marriage. What one spouse receives if the other dies intestate depends largely on what class the property falls under.
A person who dies without a will must pass an “intestate share” of their property to their children. Each child’s share will depend on how many children you have and whether you are married. For most families that may seem simple, but it is not always clear. For a child to inherit under the laws of intestacy, the state of Texas first must consider them to be your child legally. Merely taking care of a child, providing resources, etc. are insufficient to be legally considered that child’s parent. Furthermore, the laws are applied differently depending on whether there are adopted children, children born outside of your current marriage, children born during your current marriage, or children that may be born after your demise.
The McNeal Law Group can assist you in structuring your will according to your wishes.
Take the time to form your will today …. Have peace of mind tomorrow.