Frequently Asked Questions About Dying Without A Will

Are Stepchildren Legal Heirs in the State of Texas?

When someone dies without a Will in Texas, their assets pass according to a statutory formula that takes into account a number of factors, such as whether they are married or single, whether they have children, and if they are married, whether their property is classified as separate or community property. The Texas Intestacy statutesRead More

Estate Planning for Divorcing Couples: What Happens if One Spouse Dies While Divorce is Pending?

A married man died recently. He had a Will which had been prepared shortly after he and his second wife got married. When their Wills were prepared, the man and his wife were in love and trusted each other implicitly. They planned to leave everything they owned to each other when one died, and toRead More

Can A Biological Sibling of an Adopted Child Inherit Under the Texas Intestacy Statutes

I recently got a note someone whose biological brother had been given up for adoption while he was a baby. His brother had just died in Texas without a Will. He wondered whether he was entitled to a share of brother’s estate. Section 201.054 of the Estates Code addresses the laws of descent and distributionRead More

Who Are My Heirs If I Am Single And Die Without A Will?

I explained last week that an heir is a person who will inherit your property by virtue of a state’s intestacy laws if you die without a Will. The Texas intestacy statutes are essentially a Will that the state of Texas writes for you. They are rigid and inflexible and do not take into accountRead More

Is There A Difference Between A Beneficiary And An Heir?

The words “Beneficiary” and “Heir” are often used interchangeably, but each word has a very specific legal definition. A beneficiary is someone who benefits from the transfer of property, such as by a Will or a Trust. A beneficiary can even be the person who transfers the property. For example, in the case of aRead More

Will My Wife Inherit All My Separate Property If I Die Without A Will?

Most people may assume that if they are married and die without a Will, their surviving spouse will inherit their entire estate. This is not always the case. The way property is characterized is important in determining who inherits the property when its owner dies. Separate vs. Community Property Property is characterized as either separateRead More