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INTESTATE (NO WILL)
TEXAS PROBATE  

  Probating is the legal process of transferring property following a person's death. You'll receive the letters of testamentary or letters of administration that you need in order to recover estate assets. It also helps you transfer title on real property. Probating customs and laws have changed over time, the purpose of probating has remained much the same: an individual formalizes their intentions as to the transfer of their property at the time of their death (typically through a Will), their property is collected, certain debts are paid from the estate and the property is distributed accordingly.

 

Fee
Schedule

Small Estate Affidavit = $1,200
if there is less than $50,000 in assets besides the homestead.

Independent Administration = $3,500
plus court costs and ad litem fees only if all the potential heirs are in agreement on how to proceed

Dependent Administration - CALL
plus court costs and ad litem fees

DYING INTESTATE (Without A Will)

In Texas, property is characterized as separate or community. Separate property is that which is owned before marriage or acquired during marriage by gift or inheritance. Damages awarded during marriage from a personal injury lawsuit, except damages representing the loss of earning capacity, also are separate property. Community property is all property, other than separate property, which is acquired by either spouse during marriage. Thus, there can be separate real property, separate personal property, community real property and community personal property. When a person dies without a will, the law determines who are the heirs, and assets are disposed of according to whether they are community or separate property.

Distribution of Community Property
Community property, whether real or personal, is distributed in this manner:

If the decedent is survived by a spouse and children (or descendants of deceased children):
If all surviving children and descendants of the deceased spouse are also children or descendants of the surviving spouse, all of the community property passes to the surviving spouse.
If any surviving child or descendant of the deceased spouse is not also a child or descendant of the surviving spouse, the deceased spouse's one-half of the community property passes to his or her children (and the descendants of any deceased child), and the surviving spouse retains the one-half of the community property he or she owned prior to the other spouse's death. However, the surviving spouse has the right under Texas law to use and occupy the homestead during his or her life and may have the right to use or own certain items of personal property that are exempt from creditors' claims.
Example 1: Husband (H) dies without a will. H is survived by Wife (W) and by his three children (A, B, and C). A, B, and C also are the children of W. In this case, all of the community property passes to W.
Example 2: Same as Example 1, except H is survived by a child (D) who is not also a child of W. Now, A,B,C, and D share equally in H's one-half of the community property, and W simply keeps the one-half of the community property that she owned prior to H's death. To illustrate, let's apply this rule to a community bank account with $1,000 in it. The $1,000 is distributed as follows:
W: $500 (Many people incorrectly think that W gets the entire $1,000.)

A, B, C, and D: Each receives $125 (1/4 of $500)
Example 3: Same as Example 1, except W has a child (E) by a prior marriage. E is alive at H's death. All of the community property still passes to W. It does not matter that W has children who are not also H's children.
If the decedent is survived by a spouse but not by any children or descendants, all of the community property passes to the surviving spouse.
If the decedent is not survived by a spouse, all property is separate property because the community estate terminates at the death of the first spouse. The following section discusses the intestate distribution of separate property.
Distribution of Separate Property
The distribution of separate property of a person who dies without a will depends on whether it is real or personal property. Separate property is distributed in this manner:

If the decedent is survived by a spouse and children (or descendants of deceased children), then subject to the surviving spouse's rights with respect to the homestead and exempt personal property:
Separate personal property passes one-third to the spouse and two-thirds to the children (and the descendants of deceased children).
Separate real property passes to the children (and the descendants of deceased children) subject to a life estate in one-third of the property in favor of the surviving spouse. This means that the surviving spouse is entitled to use one-third of the real property during his or her lifetime, and upon his or her death, the children (or descendants) will have full title to the separate real property of the decedent.
If the decedent is survived by a spouse but not by any children or descendants, then subject to the surviving spouse's rights with respect to the homestead and exempt personal property:
All separate personal property passes to the spouse.
Separate real property passes one-half to the spouse and one-half to the decedent's parents or collateral relatives, such as brothers and sisters or their descendants. If no parents, brothers, sisters, or their descendants survive, then all separate real property passes to the surviving spouse.
If only children or their descendants survive, all separate personal and real property passes to the children or their descendants.
If both parents survive, but not the spouse or children or children's descendants, all separate personal and real property passes one-half to each parent.
If only one parent and brothers or sisters survive, separate personal and real property passes one-half to the surviving parent and the remaining one-half is divided equally among the brothers and sisters or their descendants. However, if no brothers or sisters or their descendants survive, then all separate property passes to the surviving parent.
If no spouse, children or children's descendants, or parents of the decedent survive, all separate property is divided equally among the decedent's brothers and sisters or their descendants.
If none of the above relatives survive, then all separate property passes generally to the decedent's grandparents. If no grandparents survive, the law provides for distribution of separate property to more distant relatives.

In Texas, no matter how remotely related one is to a person who dies without a will, potentially he or she is an heir-at-law. Notice that the decedent's property passes to the State of Texas only if none of his or her heirs, including very remote heirs (such as uncles, aunts, or cousins), are living. Indeed, the State rarely benefits from the estate of an intestate decedent.

 

For more information contact the law firm of Nicholas Abaza by calling 713-874-6440 or click here to send us an Email.
 
 
 

Houston Attorney, Nick Abaza specializes in Probate including Wills, Estate Administration, Probate Litigation and Estate Litigation. Mr. Abaza is licensed to practice in Texas and is happy to handle your Probate and Estate needs. Contact him today at 713-874-6440 for a free consultation.

Besides administrations I do litigation in following areas:

Will Challenge
Trust Litigation
Inheritance Fight
Breach of Fiduciary Duty Litigation
Abuse of Power of Attorney Litigation
Executor Challenges
Administration Challenges
Search for lost assets
Guardianships
Distributing Assets from a Administration or Will

 
 

Probate is the legal process of settling the estate of a deceased person, specifically resolving all claims and distributing the decedent's property.

 
 

 

   
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