Everyone has heard the old saying that if you don’t have a will then the State of Texas has one for you. It is equally true that if you don’t have a marital property agreement then the State of Texas has one for you too.

If you don’t have a will then the laws of inheritance apply and you may not like the result. For example if you have children that are not your spouse’s children then in the absence of a will your children inherit your half of the community property. They also inherit two thirds of your separate personal property with one-third to your spouse and two-thirds of your separate real property. In 35 years of practicing law, no one has ever asked me to draw a will with that kind of distribution.

Likewise, I can’t tell you how many times someone has come to my office after the death of a spouse and said “the account is in my name, so it’s mine right?” and I have to say that because of the Texas Community Property system the answer is no. Your stepchildren may very well own part of that account, even if it’s in your name.

You may have heard that only rich people need marital property agreements. Nothing could be further from the truth. Everyone who wants their property to be distributed differently than the laws of inheritance and marital property needs a will and a marital property agreement.

Whether you are married or about to get married, please contact us so that you understand the underlying set of laws that apply to your property and let us prepare the documents that accomplish what you want for your family, not what the Texas legislature has established as a backup plan.