Livens & Reed, PLLC

Are you sure you understand inheritance rules?

Losing a parent is never easy, and it can be even harder when dealing with complicated legal matters soon after. This is especially true when it comes to inheritances. An inheritance is usually much more than just some extra money or property to look forward to; rather, it is often a sincere and final gift from a dearly missed parent or spouse. Understanding how Texas' inheritance law works can help people make their wishes explicitly clear in their estate plans, and also gives heirs the confidence to assert their rights.

Texas is a common law state, which means that in a marriage, each spouse owns half of the marital property. Each spouse can get rid of his or her share as desired. This means that a spouse might choose to leave his or her share to someone other than a spouse in the event of death. So a parent may choose to leave all of his or her assets to children rather than a surviving spouse.

Children cannot necessarily count on automatic inheritances from their parents, though. Children generally do not have any legal protections to automatically inherit a parent's property, which can be frustrating for some people. If a child was born after his or her parent created a will and as such was accidentally omitted, then it might be possible to still secure a portion of the parent's estate.

For something that many people perceive to be straightforward, inheritance law can be deceptively tricky. Texas residents frequently make mistakes when creating their wills, accidentally leaving loved ones out of the picture. In some cases, someone may not even have a will. Learning more about the benefits of estate planning and protecting loved ones' inheritances can help give some people the confidence to make important decisions regarding their wills.

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