Siblings of a deceased most commonly inherit real estate in two ways – through conveyance by Will of the deceased, or through the State’s Intestacy laws. Intestacy laws are those laws that apply when there is no Will, or when the time period to probate a Will has completely closed. A person could gift the property to a sibling by putting it into a Will or Trust while alive, or in some instances, by filing the proper property documents for a survivorship transfer.
In Texas, a Will must be submitted to probate within 4 years from the date of the death. In most instances, if not done within the 4 year period, the intestacy distribution laws must be followed. In very limited situations can a Will be probated after the expiration of the 4 year period.
Things to Keep In Mind Under Texas Intestacy Laws
- The term “Children” includes biological and adopted children.
- If the Property is considered Separate Property of a married person, the Children inherit 100% of the Real Property. However, a surviving spouse has the right to live on the Property until his/her death.
- If the Real Property is considered Marital/ Community Property, and ALL deceased’s children are also children of the surviving spouse, 100% of the Property goes to the surviving Spouse.
- If the Property is considered Marital/ Community Property, but NOT ALL deceased’s children are children of the surviving spouse, then the surviving spouse gets 50% and all of deceased’s children split the remaining 50% equally.
- Anytime a person that could have inherited is no longer alive, we pass that person’s share to his/her children.
- The law always first looks to pass down (to descendants), then if not possible, next looks to pass up to parents (ascendants), and then finally looks to pass around to siblings if one parent is dead, or if both parents are dead.
- Siblings only inherit under Intestacy laws, if the deceased had no children, AND one (or both) of the deceased’s parents is dead.
This is a broad overview and summary of the main parts of the intestacy distribution laws for real property. To obtain an exact determination of your right to inherit from a family member, consult a Real Estate or Estates/Probate lawyer. The lawyer will take all circumstances into account, thoroughly review your family tree, and also make sure the proper documentation is filed into the Property Records to secure your ownership rights.