What Does Community Property Have to do with Estate Administration?

Puzzling Elements.Texas community property rules apply to property owned at the time of a person’s death if the person was married. Many testators who have adult children will name one or more of the children as executors. When a parent has remarried and dies leaving a spouse, the executor’s job can become complicated.

Under Texas’s system of property ownership, a marriage is essentially a partnership. Any property co-owned by the spouses is considered community property. Property acquired during the marriage is also community property, unless it was a gift or inherited by one spouse and kept separate from the marital estate, with few exceptions.

A surviving spouse gets one-half of community property, regardless what the will says

Terms in the decedent’s will only pertain to the decedent’s one-half of the community property. The other half belongs to the surviving spouse, regardless whether the decedent expressed any wishes to the contrary in his or her will.

For purposes of determining which property in an estate is community property and which is separate property, it is important for an executor to determine the date of acquisition (pre- or post-marriage) and the source of funds used to acquire the property. If separate funds were used to purchase the property and it was not commingled with marital property, then the acquired property may arguably be categorized as separate property.

Call our office today for help categorizing estate assets

One of our skilled probate litigation attorneys at Peterson Law Group can guide you through the estate administration process step by step, including determining the nature of community property and separate property. Contact the Peterson Law Group today at 979-703-7014, or visit us online to arrange a meeting.

About Chris Peterson

Chris Peterson is an attorney and the owner and founder of Peterson Law Group, a Texas law firm with offices in Bryan/College Station and Kingwood. He mainly practices in the areas of Estate Planning and Business Planning. Chris is also a Certified Estate Planner. Besides his law practice, Chris is a serial entrepreneur and community volunteer. He is known for his cutting edge law practice that utilizes technology to deliver efficient, excellent work.