If my parents don’t have a Will and live in a community property state, who gets their property when they die?

UPDATED: Jan 21, 2014

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If my parents don’t have a Will and live in a community property state, who gets their property when they die?

Asked on January 21, 2014 under Estate Planning, Texas


Brook Miscoski / Hurr Law Office PC

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Let's assume that the only children the parents had were the children they had together (i.e. there are no step-siblings). In that case, the community estate (assets accumulated during the marriage) goes to the surviving spouse. The separate personal property (cash, etc.) of the decedent (dead) spouse goes 1/3 to the surviving spouse and 2/3 to the children. The separate real (home, land) property of the decedent goes 1/3 life estate to the surviving spouse and the remainder and 2/3 immediately to the children.

The analysis is a little different if there are step-siblings, etc., and it's also true that if there are claims against the estate, those may reduce what is available.

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