Monday, August 27, 2012

What Happens to My Property if I Die Without a Will in Texas?

If you die without a will, or if your will did not distribute all of your property, or if the probate court finds that your will is not valid, you are considered to be “intestate.”  Texas has adopted a complex system of statutes that determine what happens to your property if you are intestate.

First, the probate court must determine whether you were married and if you had any children or other living heirs at the time of your death.  There is a significant difference in how your property will be treated if you died while:

1.      Married without children;
2.      Married with children or other descendants and:
a.       All children are also children of your surviving spouse; or
b.      Some or all children are not also children of your surviving spouse;
3.      Unmarried with children or other descendants; or
4.      Unmarried with no children or other descendants.

Each of these situations can become complex, so they will be discussed in separate blog entries.