In Texas What Will Happen to My House if I Die Without a Will?

By Beverly Bird

According to the law firm of Ford and Mathiason, under no circumstance will your home go to the state or to a stranger if you die intestate, or without a will. Texas statutes lay out a defined hierarchy for the inheritance of real property. It is extremely involved, however, so it may be a good idea to either make a will or consult with an attorney to make sure you correctly understand the order of succession for inheritance.

Spouse

Texas makes a distinction between community property and separate property in the event that you die without a will. If you and your spouse purchased your home while you were married, it is community property and she should receive it in its entirety unless you have children from a prior relationship, according to Ford and Mathiason. In that case, she would get half the home and your children would get the other half. If your home is separate property – gifted to you, inherited by you or purchased by you before you were married – then your spouse is entitled to possession of the home for life, but in actuality she would only own one-third of it and they would own the other two-thirds.

Children

If you are not married when you die, but you have children, then under Chapter 2 Section 38 of the Texas Probate Code, they would inherit equal portions of your property if you die intestate. If any of your children are deceased but they also had children, then your grandchildren could inherit their parents' share of your home.

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Parents and Siblings

If you are not married and never had children, then your parents and your siblings stand to inherit your home. Under Chapter 2 Section 38 of the Texas Probate Code, it would first go to your parents, assuming they are both alive. If one of them is deceased, however, then your remaining living parent would get half your home and your siblings would divide up the other half. If you have no siblings, then your remaining parent would get the entire estate. If neither of your parents are alive at the time of your death, your siblings would get equal shares of the home.

Extended Relatives

If you have no spouse, children or siblings, and both your parents are deceased, then your home passes to your grandparents in equal portions, according to the Texas Probate Code. If one of your grandparents is deceased, then half of your home would go to the one who is still living and half to the descendants of the one who has passed away, unless there are none. In that case, your surviving grandparent would get the entire home. If both your grandparents are deceased, then your home would go to their last living descendants when they are located, divided half and half between maternal lineage and paternal lineage.

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References

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Writing a will allows you to decide before your death who is going to get your assets, who is going to oversee the process of transferring them to those people and who will be the guardian of your minor children after your death, if you have any. To a great extent, you take the power of these decisions away from the court. Laws regarding wills vary from state to state. Title 64.1 of the Code of Virginia lists the state's requirements and provisions for wills and estate matters.

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Texas laws on inheritances are detailed, governing topics such as whether an inheritance you receive while you are married is considered community property and who inherits your property if you die without a valid will. In some cases, Texas law may distribute your property in a way you don’t want, so it is important to understand how these laws apply in your individual situation.

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