Descent and Distribution Series, Post #1: Community Property

If you’ve been told before that “Texas is a community property state” and wondered what that referred to, this post is for you.

Texas and 7 other states’ laws about inheritance and property rights derive from Spanish law, while the others derive from English Law (and Louisiana’s is from French law!).  That is significant because Spanish law considers property gained through work of a married couple to be “Community Property,” or property owned in common. That was very far ahead of its time and allowed women to be “equal partners” back in the days when most Law allowed only men owned assets!

Texas law still applies the rules of Community Property.  Property, assets, cash, and other benefits gained during a couple’s marriage are owned in common by the spouses.  Upon the death of a spouse, community property is inherited by the spouse, if (but only if) there are no children, or all of the children of the marriage were the children of that deceased spouse and the surviving spouse.  However, if the deceased spouse had children who were not of the current marriage, the children of the deceased spouse (all of them) inherit the deceased spouse’s half interest.

It is therefore even more important that married couples have Wills, especially if all the children are not of their marriage.  Some very harsh results have come about when proper planning was not done! If you’d like to plan your Will and avoid surprises, give us a call at (254) 300-7909 or come see us on the corner of Fish Pond Road and Highway 6.

Interested in learning more about Community Property? Check out our other post on Community and Separate Property and why the differentiation matters for your estate plan.