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Leach & Fox, P.C. 
Estate Attorneys

460 West Harwood Road
Hurst, TX 76054
Phone: 817-280-0811
Fax: 817-282-4127
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How Does Dying Without a Will Affect a Blended Family?

A blended family exists where one or both spouses have children from a previous marriage or relationship. In a blended family, the effect of dying without a Will can have some unforeseen and sometimes unpleasant results.

When a person dies with no will, the law, in effect, makes one for them. The law determines who has priority to serve as Administrator of their Estate, and determines the distribution of their Estate.

In Texas, when a married person dies without a will and leaves children from another relationship, his surviving spouse will only be entitled to keep her own one-half interest in the community estate. The deceased spouse's share of the community estate will pass to his children in equal shares.

Additionally, only one-third of the deceased spouse's separate personal property passes to his surviving spouse, with the remaining two-thirds passing to his children.

If the deceased spouse died leaving separate real property, the surviving spouse is entitled to only a life estate in one-third of that property. The remainder passes to the deceased spouse's children in equal shares.

Devastating consequences can occur for both the surviving spouse and children of the deceased spouse in a blended family when there is no Will:

  • Up to two-thirds of the deceased spouse's estate may be removed from the current marriage and given to the children including those from the previous marriage, even if the prior children are grown and in less need of the assets than the spouse and minor children of the current marriage.
  • The deceased spouse's interest in the marital home could pass to his children by a prior marriage leaving his spouse co-owning their home with step-children.
  • An ex-spouse of minor children who are receiving assets may ultimately gain control of the assets.
  • The children of a deceased spouse could end up losing a portion of what their parent worked for to a new spouse.
  • The children may not be able to get the items out of the house that have true sentimental value to them.
  • The spouse may be awarded allowances by the Court that will further reduce the children's share.

The effect of a person dying without a Will in a blended family can be complicated with results that can and often do destroy families. It is important to consider talking to your attorney to discuss a plan that will work for your family.

Leach & Fox, Attorneys at Law, P.C., provides legal advice and representation in estate planning and probate for clients in Hurst, Texas, and communities throughout Tarrant County, HEB, Mid-Cities and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metro areas, including Euless, Bedford, North Richland Hills, Colleyville, Southlake, Keller, Grapevine, Fort Worth, Arlington and Haltom City.