Dying intestate means that you have died without a Will. When a person dies intestate, the Texas Probate Code outlines the manner in which your estate will be distributed in accordance with the laws of descent and distribution.
Heirs of an estate are typically determined and declared through an heirship proceeding. The proceeding declares the heirs and divides the intestate estate in terms of community and separate property.
Texas heirship proceedings are usually initiated in the following circumstances:
- There is no Will and there is a necessity to declare the Decedent’s heirs and their respective shares of the estate without the necessity for an administration of the estate.
- There is no Will and there is a necessity to declare the Decedent’s heirs and their respective shares of the estate and there is a necessity for an administration of the estate (within 4 years of the Decedent’s death).
- A Ward of a pending guardianship dies without a Will.
Texas heirship proceedings are also initiated when there is a Will and
- All of the estate assets are not disposed of by the Will.
Any heir to an estate can initiate the heirship proceeding. All heirs are entitled to notice with unknown heirs receiving notice by publication. Unknown heirs are represented by an Attorney Ad Litem and witnesses must provide testimony in Court. If an administration of the estate is necessary, the heirs can agree to the appointment of an Administrator following the establishment of the heirship.
Texas laws of descent and distribution are often complex and each heirship situation requires careful analysis. It is recommended that you speak with a knowledgeable Probate Attorney concerning your probate or heirship matter.