When people are married in Texas they generally share their lives. When one spouse earns income, it is as if both earned the money. They also share their assets such as a house, car, investment accounts and other assets. However, spouses do not always pass away at the same time and when one dies before the other, a spouse does not necessarily receive all of their spouses’ property. This is especially true if the spouse that passes away first did not have a will.
There are laws in place that dictate who receives property when people die without wills. If the deceased did not have any children, the spouse receives all the property the couple gained during the marriage, all of the deceased’s personal property and at least half of all the real property.
If the couple had children then the spouse receives all of the shared property, one-third of the separate property and one-third life estate in separate real property. If the deceased had children with someone other than their spouse, the spouse receives their half of the community property, one-third of separate property and a one-third life estate in real property.
Many people may not want this distribution to occur after their pass away though. That is why it is important to have a will. With a will people can state how much they want to go to different beneficiaries instead of it going to people as the law dictates.
People in Texas plan for various events throughout their lives. It is also important for people to plan for their death. They do this by drafting wills and stating who they want to leave their property to. If they do not, the laws state who will receive property and what percentage they will receive. This is not what people always want, but after they pass away it is too late to do anything to change it. Experienced attorneys understand the importance of a well drafted will and may be able to guide one through it.