San Diego, CA asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Texas

Q: I have a series of questions regarding a probate question regarding a shared property in Texas.

Scenario: The property was co-owned in a three-way split, a married couple and a single woman. One of the partners in the couple passed but left a will.


1) Will the deceased's share go to the surviving-spouse, superseding the will and causing the property to be owned by two owners; or will the beneficiaries of the will, inherit the deceased's portion of the property, continuing the 3-way ownership?

2) When will the will take into effect, after the surviving-spouse passes, or immediately?

3) Can the property be inherited via the surviving-spouse's will (ie. the 50% the surviving-spouse owned by willed via their will, or will the third owner obtain 100% ownership once the surviving spouse passes?

Thank you!

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1 Lawyer Answer
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: 1) Unless is will is successfully challenged, the decedent's 1/3 interest will pass to the heirs named in the will, subject to the surviving spouse's "widow's rights" which give her or him a life estate in the decedent's interest if the property was the couple's homestead.

2) The will takes effect immediately upon the death of the decedent.

3) The surviving spouse can state in their will to whom they are leaving their 1/3 interest upon their death. If they have a life estate under answer #1 above, that life estate ends of course on the death of the surviving spouse.

If the deed to all three owners is joint "with right of survivorship," the last surviving owner would obtain 100% ownership upon the death of the other two. But this is rarely the case. Otherwise, the single woman would end up with 100% ownership only if the couple both left their interest to her in their wills.

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