Will My Surviving Sibling Inherit My Entire Estate If I Die Without A Will?

I was contacted recently by a man I’ll call Jack, whose uncle had just passed away.

Jack’s uncle was single, his parents had predeceased him, and he left only one surviving sibling, Jack’s mother. Jack assumed his mother would be the sole heir of her brother’s estate.

Jack was surprised when the probate judge asked family members to provide the names and addresses of surviving nieces and nephews. “Shouldn’t my mother inherit the entire estate?” he asked. He wondered whether he would need to hire a lawyer to contest the judge’s distribution of the estate.

In Texas, if a person dies without a will while single and is not survived by parents, then his siblings will inherit his estate. If he had siblings who predeceased him, but left surviving children, those nieces and nephews will inherit the portion of the estate to which their parents would have been entitled.

In the event he is survived by one sibling, and the children of a sibling who predeceased him, half of his estate would pass to the surviving sibling, while the other half would be shared among the deceased sibling’s children.

Only if predeceased siblings did not leave any surviving children would the surviving sibling inherit the entire estate.

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