After coming to grips with the grief associated with the passing of a loved one in Denton, your thoughts may begin to turn to the distribution of their estate. You and others with an interest in the estate no doubt hope that the decedent detailed how they wanted their assets to be distributed in a will. Yet what if they did not? Many facing this very scenario come to us here at Kelsey, Kelsey & Hickey, PLLC wondering how their family members or friends’ estates are to descend. The answer may come as a surprise to you: it is left to the state to decide. 

Actually, the estate has already made the decision. Texas lawmakers have established a pattern of descent for assets belonging to those who died intestate (without a will). These can be found in Section 201 of the state’s Estates Code. Here it states that if you are the surviving spouse of the decedent, you are entitled to their entire estate if the two of you had no children. You are also entitled to all of the community property you held together if the decedent’s surviving children are also your children. Your stake in their separate property is reduced to one-third if there are surviving children (you also are entitled to a life estate on your spouse’s land). 

If your loved one had no surviving spouse, local intestate succession guidelines dictate that their estate passes as follows: 

  • To their children 
  • To their parents 
  • To their siblings (and their siblings’ descendants) 
  • To their paternal and maternal kindred 

Notice how no allowances are afforded to you in intestate succession if you are not directly related to the decedent. You can learn more about the details of estate administration by continuing to browse through our site.