In Texas, when a person dies without a will and owned property at the time of death, an estate is usually opened to receive claims against the estate and transfer remaining property to the surviving relatives. In cases where there are no direct ancestors or descendants of the deceased person, the estate passes to collateral relatives. In this article, we’ll explain how Texas treats half blood relatives differently from whole blood relatives.
Half blood collateral relatives
The term half blood may sound archaic, but it is written this way in Texas statutes, specifically in reference to intestate distribution of property to collateral relatives. Collateral relatives include your siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and so on.
Half blood relatives share the same natural mother or father, but not the same two natural parents. A half blood collateral relative inherits only half as much as a whole blood collateral relative of the same degree of family relationship. The exception is when all of the heirs of the same degree are half-blooded heirs, they each get equal shares.
Intestate distribution of property
The rules of intestate distribution in Texas dictate how your property will be divided if you die without a will. The law first provides for your spouse and children or their descendants, if any. If there is no surviving spouse or descendants, your parents and grandparents are next in line to inherit your property.
When there are no surviving spouse, descendants, parents or grandparents, your property goes to your collateral relatives. Your siblings are first in line, but if there are no siblings, your property will be passed to your cousins, if any, or even further along the branches of your family tree to find relatives with whom you share a common ancestor.
Half blood relatives and the inheritance disparity
So how might the half blood or whole blood disparity play out? Consider, by way of example, that you have a half blood sister with whom you shared only one parent and a whole blood brother with whom you shared both parents.
Assume that you sister predeceased you, but had a daughter. Your brother also predeceased you, but had a son. Under Texas law, if your niece and nephew are your closest remaining relatives, your nephew would inherit two-thirds of your estate and your niece would inherit one-third of your estate. Under the laws of intestacy, it doesn’t matter how close you were to your relatives during your lifetime.
Avoid unintended distributions by making a will
Be sure your property will go the people or places you choose by making a will as soon as possible. An experienced estate planning attorney at Peterson Law Group advises you and develops a comprehensive estate plan to meet your needs. Contact our experienced Bryan, Texas estate planning attorneys at Peterson Law Group at 979-703-7014 to schedule a meeting or visit us online.