How Property Distributed When Someone Dies Without A Will

Dying Without A Will Can Be A Nightmare!

I get calls and emails every week from people struggling to cope death of someone they love. In addition to the grief they experience, many struggle financially because their loved ones died without engaging in any type of estate planning. Some people don’t write Wills because they believe death is too unpleasant to consider. I … Read More

What are the Inheritance Rights of Half Siblings When Someone Dies Without a Will?

An unmarried man died without a Will. He had no children and both his parents died before him. But he did have two siblings: one brother and one half-sister. According to the intestacy statutes, this situation would result in his estate being distributed to his siblings. But is the half-sister entitled to inherit an equal … Read More

The Complexities of Intestacy in Non-Traditional Families

I received a note last week that highlights the heartbreaking consequences of dying without a Will in non-traditional families. The couple had lived together for twenty-one years in a home the deceased partner had purchased before their relationship began. The deceased partner had been previously married and was survived by a child from the prior … Read More

If You Don’t Have a Will, Texas Makes One For You

I received a phone call this week from a woman I’ll call Ellen, whose grandfather had succumbed to pancreatic cancer. His own children were unwilling to care for him while he was ill, so Ellen moved into his home and cared for him until he died. As an expression of his gratitude, Ellen’s grandfather promised … Read More

The Rigidity of the Intestacy Statutes

I received an email this week from a grieving and very frustrated man. He lost his wife this month after sixteen years of marriage. Both he and his wife had been married before, and each of them had children from their previous marriages. They owned a home in Texas. His wife never worked outside the … Read More

Who Inherits When Unmarried Sibling Dies Without a Will in Texas

When an unmarried sibling dies without a will in Texas, the distribution of his estate will depend on whether he has any surviving descendants or parents. If he is survived by descendants, the Texas Estates Code specifies that the entire estate will pass to them. If he is not survived by descendants, his estate will … Read More