If my mother died without a will, does my father inherit her assets? Is it ok if my father wants to give everything in his will to only one child?

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If my mother died without a will, does my father inherit her assets? Is it ok if my father wants to give everything in his will to only one child?

My mother recently passed away and she left no will. My father is still alive. Does this affect his estate in any way? He says that everything is his now. I am okay with that, but I just wanted to confirm his opinion. I am on his side but he has other children who may not feel that way. I have talked to him and now he wants to make a will and leave everything to one son because he does not work. Again I have no problem with his decision, but can he do that?

Asked on March 12, 2009 under Estate Planning, Texas


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 14 years ago | Contributor

Our condolences on your loss.

I am NOT a Texas lawyer, but in most states, without a Will, a surviving spouse typically inherits only PART of the separate property assets his or her deceased spouse had held in his or her own name, and the children inherit the rest.  In many states it works like this -- the first $50k goes to the spouse, and then 1/2 or 1/3rd of the rest goes to the spouse, the rest to the children or heirs of pre-deceased children.

In most states if property (such as a house) was held in joint tenancy, that property goes to the surviving joint tenant(s) by operation of law immediately on death.

As Texas is a community property state, it is likely much of any property acquired after the marriage, othe than by inheritance, will be regarded as community property and (although I don't know Texas law) in many community property states the community property goes to the surviving spouse absent a Will.

As to his property, assuming he is and remains of sound mind and has capacity to make a Will, he would be free to spend it all, give it all away or leave it all to a charity or a favored (or needy) child during his lifetime, or if he does it by a valid Will, at death.

He normally need not share and share alike. But if he has no Will and no spouse, then the laws provide his property  is generally shared among his heirs at law (here his children) equally.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption