FAQs About Wills

Can I Disinherit My Spouse In Texas?

by Rania Combs

Texas is a community state. There is a presumption that all property acquired during the marriage belongs to the spouses in equal shares, unless it was acquired by gift, devise or descent.

If you have a valid Will, you can choose to give your separate property and your share of the community property to someone other than your spouse. However, your surviving spouse does have certain rights. For example:

  1. A surviving spouse is  entitled to a life estate in the homestead, even if it is the separate property of the deceased spouse and it was left to someone else.
  2. The surviving spouse is entitled to be reimbursed for any community funds expended on the deceased spouse’s separate property, or for any of the surviving spouse’s separate funds that were expended on the couple’s community property or the deceased spouse’s separate property.
  3. The surviving spouse is also entitled to an allowance equal to one year of living expenses.
  4. Additionally, if the deceased spouse has a retirement plan governed by ERISA, the surviving spouse is entitled to the proceeds of that plan unless he or she has signed a waiver during the marriage.

About Rania

Rania graduated magna cum laude from South Texas College of Law Houston and is the founder of Rania Combs Law, PLLC. She has been licensed to practice law since 1994 and enjoys helping clients in Texas and North Carolina create estate plans that give them peace of mind.

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  1. avril wakefield

    October 16, 2017 at 2:43pm

    what does acquired by devise mean?

    1. Rania Combs

      October 17, 2017 at 11:10am

      If you acquire an asset by devise, it means that someone left it to you in a Will.

  2. Kathy

    March 13, 2019 at 1:00pm

    So I just want to make sure that I understand correctly. My husband and I have community property, we both have a child that we brought to the marriage and currently no will. If my spouse dies do I have to split all property with his child?

    1. Rania Combs

      April 24, 2019 at 5:12pm

      The following article discusses how property is distributed when someone dies without a Will and has children from another marriage: The Complexities of Intestacy in Blended Families in Texas.