If a women’s husband has passedon butdid not leave a Will, how does she go about becoming his legal heir?

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If a women’s husband has passedon butdid not leave a Will, how does she go about becoming his legal heir?

There are no kids or other family members. However, the husband did leave behind a business and a lot of debt.

Asked on March 1, 2011 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Your husband died what is known as intestate under the law.  Here is the Texas Intestate succession statute as it applies here:

"If the deceased have no child or children, or their descendants, then the surviving husband or wife shall be entitled to all the personal estate, and to one-half of the lands of the intestate, without remainder to any person, and the other half shall pass and be inherited according to the rules of descent and distribution; provided, however, that if the deceased has neither surviving father nor mother nor surviving brothers or sisters, or their descendants, then the surviving husband or wife shall be entitled to the whole of the estate of such intestate."

If there are assets that are jointly held they pass automatically upon death.  Insurance policies or other assets that have beneficiary designations properly executed and on file will pass what is known as "outside the Will" or directly to the beneficiary.  The debts of his business are the debts of his estate.  It could be possible that he has no estate given how your assets are held.  Seek legal help here.  Good luck.


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