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What should you do when your parent dies in Texas without a will?

On Behalf of | Nov 4, 2021 | Estate Planning

Learning that your parent recently died is a shock and a source of grief. Finding out that they died without a last will can lead to anxiety and insecurity.

Most people don’t know what to expect in probate to begin with, and when the person who died didn’t leave a will behind, things are even less predictable. If your parent recently died without an estate plan in Texas, you probably have a lot of questions about your inheritance.

Thankfully, Texas state law is clear about what happens to someone’s property if they die without a will.

The right to inherit is strong for children

How much you inherit in this situation depends on whether your other parent is still alive and whether the recently deceased parent remarried if your other parent died first or your parents divorced. If your parents have both passed and now there are only surviving children in the family, the descendants of the family will inherit the entire estate. The same is true if your parents divorced and your deceased parent didn’t remarry.

If your other parent is still alive, they inherit the community property and a third of your deceased parent’s separate property. The children inherit the remainder of the separate personal property. If your parent remarried, your stepparent can receive one-third of your parent’s separate property and the right to remain in a shared marital home for life. The children of the deceased receive the rest of the separate property and their parent’s share of the community property from the marriage.

Will you need to stay in Texas for the probate process?

Maybe you don’t live in Texas, or maybe you travel frequently for work. Either way, needing to be available for court dates sporadically over the next year or longer may seem like a significant burden. Thankfully, you don’t necessarily have to be physically present in Texas to help handle an estate or advocate for your right of inheritance as a child of someone who died without a will.

Cooperating with an in-state attorney may allow you the freedom to not attend hearings or stay in Texas while still trusting that someone is watching out for your interests. Learning about the Texas probate rules can help those who will benefit from an estate.

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