What inheritance rights does a surviving spouse have in Texas?

On Behalf of | Apr 28, 2022 | Probate Litigation

While some may consider it common sense that one spouse inherits the estate of the other when they pass, that is not always the case. The inheritance rights of a surviving spouse may depend on a few key factors.

The process of allocating individual property after death depends on the presence of a will, or lack thereof. Inheritance can also vary if the deceased has any other surviving family in addition to a spouse.

Spousal inheritance in the presence of a will

A spouse will receive half of the community property that accumulates throughout a marriage. The remaining half, as well as any assets from before the marriage, is the individual property of the deceased. If a will is in place, the inheritance of those individual assets follows the terms of the document.

Spousal inheritance in the absence of a will

Without a will to dictate the allocation of assets after death, inheritance follows the process of Texas intestate succession. The surviving spouse may inherit the entire community estate of the deceased if there is no adult descendant. A portion of the deceased’s separate estate will go to the surviving spouse, as well as any parents, siblings or descendants that survive the deceased as well.

Matters of inheritance can be sensitive and complex. These can be times when involved parties succumb to the temptation of fraud or deceit. A surviving spouse who knows their rights can protect their inheritance and may seek estate litigation if those rights are under threat.