If my mother recently died and the house she lived in with her husband was in both of their names, do we has heirs own half of the house now?

This is in a community property state.

Asked on September 9, 2016 under Estate Planning, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It depends on the title.  Most titles for husbands/wives have 'with right of survivorship' language. This means that if one spouse passes, the other spouse automatically obtains full ownership without the need for probate.  Heirs, in this situation, inherit nothing because autosurvivorship provisions trump provisions in a will.  A will can only divide what does not pass automatically.  If your mother also had a life insurance policy, the same rule would apply... and the specific beneficiary she named would inherit without the need for probate and regardless of any will provisions. 
If the title was different than described above and the title did not have right to survivorship language, then the heirs (including the husband) would share part ownership as set out by a combination of the title, the will (if one) and/or the probate code (if there was no will).
You can obtain a copy of the title at the county clerk's office where the property is located. From there, have a probate attorney or real estate attorney review it to see what type of ownership they actually shared.  This will determine what interest, if any, the heirs have in the house.

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