Some people marry someone with children from a past relationship. If you have stepchildren that you have come to greatly care for, you no doubt worry about their future. You may want to make sure they inherit from you after your death.
It is possible that your stepchildren will not receive an inheritance from you, however. To understand why this could happen, you should know about the intestacy laws of Texas.
Automatic heirs in Texas
To die intestate means you die without a will. This means your property will pass to your surviving family members according to Texas law. If you die with a wife or husband but do not have any living parents, children or siblings, your entire estate goes to your spouse.
If you have children along with a spouse, the state will divide your separate personal property among them while your share of your community property goes to your spouse. There are different inheritance combinations depending on which family members are alive at the time of your death.
Stepparent adoption as an inheritance solution
While you may consider your stepchildren part of your family, Texas law does not include them as part of an intestate line of succession. If you do not write a legal will or if a court rules that your will is invalid, your stepchildren might not inherit from you.
However, adopting your stepchildren gives them the same rights as your biological children. This means your stepchildren will be eligible for intestate inheritance. Additionally, they may receive other inheritance rights such as survivor’s benefits from an insurance policy or government benefits.
Make plans for your stepchildren
Sometimes stepparent adoption is not possible, as in cases where a noncustodial parent objects to the adoption. You may find other ways to provide for your stepchildren, such as creating a trust. Still, adopting your stepchildren may become an option for you at some point.