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What happens if you die in Texas without a will and have a surviving spouse?

If you make no Last Will and Testament prior to your death, the state’s intestacy laws determine who inherits your estate and in what proportion. However, if you draft an enforceable will with the help of an estate planning attorney, you can determine exactly how you want your estate distributed, rather than leaving it up to the probate court. Otherwise, the following situations may apply if you have a surviving spouse:

Surviving spouse intestate situations

Texas intestacy law provides for the following five surviving spouse scenarios and their respective distributions: 

  1. Surviving spouse, but no surviving parents, siblings or children: Your spouse inherits your entire probate estate. 
  2. Surviving spouse and surviving children born to or adopted by you and (s)he: Your spouse inherits your share of the community property, plus one-third of your separate personal property. Your children inherit the rest of your probate estate. Your spouse also gets all your separate real property, but only during his or her lifetime. On his or her death, that property passes to your children. 
  3. Surviving spouse and surviving children by someone else: Your spouse inherits your share of the community property, plus one-third of your separate personal property. Your children inherit the other two-thirds of your probate estate. Again, your spouse gets all your separate real property, but only during his or her lifetime. On his or her death, that property passes to your children. 
  4. Surviving spouse and surviving parents, but no surviving children: Your spouse inherits your share of the community property, plus all of your separate personal property. (S)he also inherits half of your separate real property and your parents inherit the other half. 
  5. Surviving spouse and surviving siblings, but no surviving children or parents: Your spouse inherits your share of the community property, plus all of your separate personal property. (S)he also inherits half of your separate real property and your siblings inherit the other half. 

Texas intestacy law makes additional provisions for inheritances when you leave no surviving spouse.