Texas parents often want all or most of an inheritance to go to their children after they pass away, to ensure their children’s financial needs are met and decrease the chances of their children experiencing money troubles after their parents are gone. The state of Texas provides inheritance rights to biological, adopted and illegitimate children. However, stepchildren do not receive any inheritance rights under Texas law.
Biological and adopted children
The property of married couples in Texas is considered community property, rather than your separate property. If you are married and have biological and/or adopted children with your spouse, your spouse will receive your share of the community property, all real property, such as a house, and 1/3 of separate personal property, with whatever is left of the estate going to your children.
If you are married with children who are not your spouse’s, the inheritance laws are generally more favorable to your children. In this situation, your community property will receive your share of the community property, as well as 2/3 of your separate personal property. Your spouse will receive the remainder of the estate and all real property. In both situations, after your spouse passes away, the real property will go to your children.
It is understandable for illegitimate children to assume they have no inheritance rights under the law, but this is simply not true. Like biological and adopted children, illegitimate children have inheritance rights. Texas law permits illegitimate children to receive an inheritance from parents and their parents’ ancestors.
Inheritance law can be confusing and complex, especially if there are multiple spouses or several children involved. Thankfully, there are qualified professionals out there who can assess your specific situation, listen carefully to your estate planning goals involving your children and help craft an estate plan that takes care of their future needs.