If I Die Without A Will?
It passes according to the laws of the State of Texas (what lawyers call the “law of intestate succession”). If you are married and have community property (generally property which you and your spouse accumulated during your marriage), each spouse owns an undivided 1/2 interest in that property. If the deceased spouse’s children are also the children of the surviving spouse, then the deceased spouse’s community property will pass to the surviving spouse. However, if all of the children of the deceased spouse are not children of the surviving spouse, then the deceased spouse’s community property will pass to his children–not to the surviving spouse.
If the deceased spouse had separate property (property that he or she owned before marriage or which, while married, was received as a gift or as an inheritance) the law of intestate succession requires that separate real property (eg: house and lot; family farm or ranch, etc.) go 2/3 fee simple to the decedent’s children with the surviving spouse receiving only a 1/3 life estate — the 1/3 remainder interest at the spouse’s death going to the children. In case of separate personal property, the decendent’s children receive 2/3 and the surviving spouse receives only 1/3.
What If I Have Minor Children – What Can A Will Do For Them?
It can provide a tremendous degree of security for them and peace of mind for you! With a Will you can provide, if both you and your spouse are deceased, that your estate will be held in trust (with a trustee you name) for their maintenance, support and education until they are old enough and mature enough to handle the property — rather than simply turning it over to them when they turn eighteen (18) which the law, otherwise, requires.