Q: If I am married and I die without a will, doesn’t my spouse automatically receive all of my assets?
A. Not necessarily. If you have children, and if you have separate property, your spouse would receive a 1/3 life estate interest in your separate real property, and your children would share equally in the remaining 2/3 subject to the life estate interest of your surviving spouse. Your spouse would receive 1/3 of your separate personal property and your children would share equally in the remaining 2/3 of the separate property. All of your community property, both real and personal, would go to your spouse. However, what if you have children from a prior marriage, or what if you have no children? The recipient(s) of your property under either of those two scenarios becomes even more complicated. The bottom line is you get to decide who gets your property if you have a will. If you die without a will, the State of Texas decides who gets your property. Further, the cost is significantly more expensive to probate your estate without a will than if you have a will, and is also more time consuming and complicated.