Dying Without a Will in Texas: What About the House?

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What happens if you inherit a home from a family member, but they died without leaving a last will and testament?

If your loved one was a Texas resident, their estate automatically enters a process known as “intestacy probate.” As a beneficiary, you will have to jump through a few hoops before the probate process is complete and you get the keys to the house.

Because each state has different laws, it is important to know your local rules and regulations. Keep reading to learn about who inherits the property if someone dies without a will in Texas.

house in texas without will

So What Happens If Someone Dies Without a Will in Texas?

When someone passes away without leaving a will, the process of distributing their assets differs from state to state.

In Texas, the estate enters the probate process. The court system will legally recognize the death and take control of the deceased person’s property. Then they’ll administer the deceased’s estate by overseeing the transfer of assets from the deceased’s name to their beneficiaries’ names.

During probate, beneficiaries must prove to the court that the property is distributed in an honest, fair manner. This process is called intestate succession.

If the dead person died with outstanding debts or bills, those must be taken care of before property distribution. Usually, the court subtracts debt from the total amount of the property in probate. The court then distributes the leftover amount according to the law.

How Long Does Probate Take in Texas Without a Will?

When the deceased leaves a will, the Texas probate process usually takes about six months. Without a will, probate can take much longer. Sometimes the process takes up to a year or two to complete.

Why does probate in Texas without a will take so long? When someone dies without a will and the deed to their property doesn’t include joint tenancy with survivorship language, the court must decide who has claim to which assets.

Who Inherits Property if No Will in Texas?

Under Texas intestacy law, if the deceased is survived by family members, the assets of their estate must be distributed to them in a specific order, based on their connection to the deceased. In general, the order is:

  1. Spouse
  2. Biological Children
  3. Non-biological children
  4. Grandchildren
  5. Great-grandchildren
  6. Parents
  7. Siblings
  8. Nieces and nephews
  9. Grandparents
  10. Aunts, uncles, and cousins

For instance, say a person dies without a will in Texas and leaves a spouse and biological children; The spouse will inherit all the deceased’s community property, one-third of their personal property, and the right to use the estate for the rest of their life. The children inherit the rest.

What if someone dies and leaves no surviving relatives? In such cases, which are rare, assets “escheat” to the state of Texas.

dying without a will in texas

How to File Intestate in Texas

If the deceased died without a will in Texas but left a Transfer on Death Deed related to their house, you don’t need to go through probate. But if they didn’t, you’ll likely have to file for probate in the county clerk’s office.

An executor of the estate will be chosen by the court, based on legal regulations. If you are the executor, you’ll need to take care of required paperwork and complete other tasks, such as:

  • Provide notices to creditors
  • Provide notices to beneficiaries
  • File inventories, appraisements, and lists of claims
  • Pay claims and taxes due
  • Distribute assets to beneficiaries

Not having a will adds complexity to the inheritance process, and makes it lengthy and complicated. Once you’re finally done with probate, that last thing you want to do is start another long, stressful task: Selling the inherited home.

Instead, make it easy on yourself and sell the house to HomeGo! HomeGo buys homes as-is, no repairs necessary.

You’ll receive a same-day offer and close in as few as seven days, so you can move on with your life. Inheritance is stressful enough as it is, but selling the home doesn’t have to be.

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The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.

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