Death is, unfortunately, a part of life. While we celebrate many happy occasions throughout our lives, including marriage, we must prepare for its inevitable end. Different states have different laws for inheritance rights in marriage. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about your rights as a spouse in Texas.
What Inheritance Rights Do Spouses Have in Texas?
Texas is a community property state. Community property means each spouse owns half of what was acquired during a marriage, except stated separate property, such as parental inheritance or gifts. Community property dictates that the surviving spouse receives at least half of the inheritance when a spouse passes away. In many circumstances, the surviving spouse could receive the entirety of the community property, even if you have surviving parents, children, or siblings. This circumstance is the default inheritance right if a spouse passes away without a will.
How Does a Will Change Spousal Inheritance Rights?
Only a valid pre- or post-nuptial agreement can alter the default spousal inheritance rights in community property states, such as Texas. A will cannot override community property to give less than half of the community property to a spouse. Even if you have surviving parents, children, and siblings listed in a will, they are entitled only to the other half of the inheritance. Unless otherwise stated, these other groups will often evenly split the remaining half. Spouses must receive half of the community property, at a minimum.
Do Ex-Spouses Have Inheritance Rights?
Most of the time, a divorce revokes the inheritance rights and gifts of the ex-spouse. However, it is wise to draw up a new will that definitively revokes the old one. Your children from the previous marriage can still receive an inheritance, even if you remarry. Your new spouse will still receive half of the community property. Your children from the previous marriage will receive the other half, as well as two-thirds of any separate property you had.
You need to know about your inheritance rights in marriage, so you can adequately prepare for the future. While we always hope our marriages are lifelong and prosperous, we also don’t want to struggle with inheritance disagreements while mourning. A family law attorney in Amarillo, such as Northern Law Firm, can help you draw up the appropriate will near you. We have extensive experience in family law and will help your family have peace of mind.