What are the Inheritance Rights of Half-Siblings When Someone Dies Without a Will?
When someone dies without a Will in Texas, the deceased person’s property is distributed according to a statutory formula found in the Texas Estate Code.
According to the intestacy statutes, siblings inherit only if a person does not have a surviving spouse, descendants, or parents. When there is a surviving spouse, descendants, or parents, their inheritance rights take priority.
Do Half-Siblings Have Equal Inheritance Rights as Full Siblings?
According to the Texas Estates Code, half-siblings and full siblings do not have equal inheritance rights. Since half-siblings only share one parent with the rest of their siblings, half-siblings inherit only half as much as the full sibling inherits.
This is not the case in all states. For example in states like California, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, and North Carolina, half-siblings have the same intestacy rights as full siblings.
What Happens if All Siblings are Half-Siblings?
If all siblings are half-siblings, then all siblings would share equal inheritance rights.
So in a situation where one parent remarried and your only siblings are half-siblings, each of your half-siblings will inherit equal shares of your estate.
Do Step-Siblings have Inheritance Rights Under the Texas Intestacy Statutes?
A step-sibling is not a legal heir in Texas. They have no inheritance rights under the Texas intestacy statutes.
How to Ensure a Step-Sibling or Half-Sibling Gets Equal Inheritance Rights in Texas?
Many people have close relations with their step-siblings and half-siblings. In some cases, the relationship is stronger than with a full sibling. If that is your situation and you want to ensure that your half-sibling receives equal inheritance rights, you need a Will.
The statutory formula outlined in the intestacy statutes applies only to situations when someone dies without a Will. If you want your half-sibling to have equal inheritance rights, you make that clear in your Will.
This article was initially published on October 21, 2015 and updated on May 16, 2022.