Wife collecting on a decease when there is no will

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Wife collecting on a decease when there is no will

There is a property where both owners are now decease there was no Will. Wife of one of the deceased is collecting rent on the commercial property when there are living heirs. How can the heirs stop the wife from collecting? Is this a crime? Can charges be filed against wife?

Asked on January 30, 2019 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

The wife would herself be an heir of her deceased spouse if there was no will: in fact, if there is no will, she will inherit the bulk of that person's estate (what they left behind, including their interest in a business or commercial propety). And since Texas is a community property state, even if there was a will excluding her, she would still inherit a substantial portion of the estate. It is not clear why you believe a surviving spouse is not an heir or does not inherit; typically, spouses are the main, or sometimes sole, heir.
There are many issues affecting the outcome in this case: which property owner passed away first? which owner (1st or 2nd to pass away) was the wife married to? are there children of the deceased property owners? was there a will and what did it say? who are the other "heirs" to which you refer? etc. You need to consult in detail with a probate attorney about the specifics of this situation to understand who inherits what and what any given heir's rights are.


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