Laws of Intestacy apply when a person dies without a will. It is referred to as “Intestate Succession”. In simple terms this means your assets will go to your closest relatives. It is common thought that the spouse automatically inherits everything. This is not always the case in Texas.
How will my assets be distributed under Intestate succession?
This depends on what relatives you have still living.
If you leave behind a spouse and children from that spouse, then your spouse will inherit all of your community property, plus 1/3 of your separate property. Your spouse will also inherit the right to use your real estate for life. Your remaining assets will be dispersed evenly to your children.
If you leave behind a spouse and children who are not the children of that spouse, then your spouse will inherit 1/2 of the community property and 1/3 of the separate property. Your remaining assets will be dispersed between your children, including the 1/2 of your community property.
If you leave behind children, but not a spouse, then your children will inherit everything.
If you leave behind a spouse and parents, but no children, then your spouse will inherit all community property and 1/2 of your separate property. Your parents will inherit everything else.
Same goes for siblings. If you die with siblings and no other living relative, then your siblings would inherit everything.
Depending on what relatives you have living, this can be broken down in various ways. If you need more information regarding who gets what, feel free to contact us for additional details. You can also read the Estates Code, Subtitle E. Intestate Succession here.
What Assets do not apply to the Laws of Intestacy?
This would include any life insurance policies, 401K, Assets in a Living Trust, bank accounts with payable-on-death clauses, other retirement accounts, and property you may own with someone else. These types of assets have named beneficiaries and do not fall under the assets dispersed from Texas probate.
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