What Happens When Someone Dies Without A Will in Texas?

Getting a will isn’t only for the rich. Without a will, there will be long-lasting impacts on your loved ones. This post describes where the property goes when a person in Texas dies without a will. .

The State of Texas Has Written A Will For An Intestate Person.

Dying without a will in Texas means a person died “intestate.” The Texas “intestacy” statute creates a “will” for an intestate person.  Read the Texas intestacy statute for a mind-boggling experience.  Applying the Texas intestacy statute to the distribution of your property may result in property going to unexpected people. Get a will and decide where your property goes.

If the Intestate Person Leaves No Spouse.

The property of an intestate person with no spouse distributes as follows:

  1. To children and their descendants.
  2. No children or descendants, to parents.
  3. No parents, to brothers and sisters.
  4. If none exist, to the families of the parents.

If the Intestate Person Leaves A Spouse.

The property of an intestate person who left a spouse distributes as follows:

If the intestate person has children, the property passes as follows:
  • Surviving spouse takes one-third of the personal property estate.
  • Children take the balance of the personal property estate.
  • Surviving spouse takes a life estate in one-third of the intestate person’s land.
  • Children take the balance of the intestate person’s land.
  • Children take the balance of of the intestate person’s land when the surviving spouse’s life estate ends.
If the intestate person has no child, the surviving spouse takes:
  • All of the personal estate and one-half of the intestate person’s land.
  • One-half of the intestate person’s land.
  • If the intestate person dies with no children, descendants or surviving parents, the surviving spouse takes the intestate person’s entire estate.

What Part Of An Intestate Person’s Property Does An Heir Get?

Heirs in the same decree of relationship to the intestate person take equal share of the intestate person’s property.

If the intestate person has 3 children, the share going to the descendants is divided equally between the 3 children.  This is an example of “per capita” distribution.

If the intestate person has 3 children but one child dies before the intestate person and leaves 2 children, the intestate person’s property gets divided as follows:

  • Each surviving child gets 1/3 of the intestate person’s property.
  • The children of the child who dies before the intestate person, divide their parent’s share equally.  This is an example of “per stirpes” distribution.

If An Intestate Person Dies Owning Community Property, How Is That Property Divided?

If an intestate person dies without a child or DESCENDANT, All property passes to the surviving spouse if:
  1. No child or descendant of the of intestate person survives the intestate person; or
  2. Any surviving child or and descendant of the intestate person are also a child or descendant of the surviving spouse.
If an intestate person dies with a child or descendant not the surviving spouse’s child or descendant, the property passes as follows:
  1. One-half of the community estate is retained by the surviving spouse; and,
  2. The other one-half passes to the child or descendant of the intestate person.

THE BOTTOM LINE

I often get the question: why do I need to a will? Simply put without a will:

  • Assets are not protected.
  • Loved ones are not protected.
  • Heirs face huge tax burdens.
  • A judge decides who get your assets.
  • The family faces a big & expensive fight on who gets your property.

If you have further questions, concerns, or you need more information, don’t hesitate to call! There is no charge for the initial consultation.