If you ever experienced a death in your immediate family my condolences go out to you.  Persevering after the death of a loved one can be one of the biggest challenges in life.  Unfortunately, even after death the responsibilities of the survivors do not end.  Probate, the distribution of one’s estate after death, can have a heavy toll on the parties responsible to distribute the assets and pay off the liabilities of the estate.  Not only can it be a lengthy process but it can divide a family in a blink of an eye.

The real property is probably the most complicated asset to deal with.  One of the most common disputes over the real property is when someone feels that they are entitled to the home. This can be caused when one of the heirs is already staying in the home or when one of the heirs was the caretaker of the deceased.  Settling these types of disputes internally or through the judicial process can be a nightmare for a family.

Intestacy is when one dies without a will.  

In Texas, the intestacy laws are clear on how real property is to be distributed.  Since the intestacy laws changed in September of 1993, we will be discussing the current intestacy laws.  

Here are the basic intestacy laws in Texas:

Married with Children (If any of the Children not from current marriage)

50% among Children and 50% to Surviving Spouse

Married with Children (All from current marriage)

100% all to Surviving Spouse

Married with no Children (Mother and Father Surviving)

100% all to Surviving Spouse

Unmarried or Widowed with no Children (Father or Mother Surviving)

50% to Father and 50% to Mother

Unmarried or Widowed with no Children (Father or Mother and Brother or Sister Surviving)

50% to Father or Mother and 50% to Brother or Sister

Unmarried or Widowed with no Children (No Surviving Parents)

100% to Brothers and Sisters divided equally

Unmarried or Widowed with no Children (No Surviving Parents and No Surviving Brother or Sister)

50% to Paternal Kindred and 50% to Maternal Kindred

Unmarried or Widowed with Children

100% equally divided among Children

Getting the correct distribution of the real property is only part of the battle.  If there are prior deaths and the property was never probated properly, title issues can arise.  This can turn into a mess very quickly.  If you find yourself in a probate scenario and you are not sure what to do, call our office to speak to a competent Texas real estate attorney to guide you through the process.

(Written by Steven Almaraz – Firm Manager)