Am I Entitled to My Parents’ Assets After They Pass Away?

The passing down of assets in Texas will be determined based on several factors, including whether the deceased had a will.

What you are entitled to when your parents pass away is determined either by statute or by your parents’ express wishes. If they pass away without a will, their estate will be divided up based on intestate rules, which are the rules that apply when someone passes away with no will and/or trust that governs what happens to that person’s estate.

In the event the deceased left a will and/or active trust, the beneficiaries spelled out in the will and/or trust would be the ones who would receive the inheritance. If you have questions regarding wills and probate, you should speak with a Pearland estate planning attorney who can answer your specific questions.

Intestate Succession Laws in Texas

Assets that would have passed down through a person’s will are the ones subject to intestate succession laws in Texas. Some common scenarios that arise when someone dies without a will include:

● If there are children, but no surviving spouse, then the children inherit everything.

● If there is a spouse, but no children, parents, or siblings, then the spouse will inherit everything.

● If there are living parents, but no children, spouse, or siblings, then the parents inherit everything.

Things get more complicated when there is a spouse as well as children. The spouse would inherit the decedent’s community property plus a third of the separate personal property and the right to use the estate for the rest of his or her life. You, as a child of the deceased, will inherit everything else, splitting it with your siblings.

If your parent’s spouse is not your biological parent, then the spouse will retain half of the community property, a third of the separate property, and the right to use the real estate for the remainder of his or her life. You, as a child of the deceased, will inherit everything else, including the remaining half interest of the community property.

If you were adopted, you will receive an intestate share, but foster children and stepchildren who were never legally adopted will not. If you were placed for adoption and your birth parent passes away, you are usually entitled to an intestate share of the estate.

Assets Not Affected by Texas Intestate Laws

There may be a variety of valuable assets that are not affected by intestate laws, which can include:

● Life insurance proceeds

● Property owned with someone else and held in joint tenancy

● Property that has been transferred to a living trust

● Payable-on-death bank accounts

● Funds in a retirement account, IRA, or 401K

The aforementioned assets would be passed to the named beneficiary or surviving co-owner, whether or not there is a will.

Parent Passes Away with a Will

If your parent had a will, then assets will be divided based on his or her express wishes as stated in the will. This is the same with a trust that has listed beneficiaries. If you are not named in the will or the trust, you would need to have a valid reason for challenging it.

Contact a Pearland Estate Planning Attorney

If you have questions on whether or not you are entitled to your parents’ inheritance once they pass away, contact John Powell III at 281-747-6346 to schedule a consultation.