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Intestate Estates

What is Intestacy in San Antonio?

Have questions about probate of wills?

Intestate is defined as an adjective: having made no valid will. And as a noun: one who dies intestate according to Merriam-Webster. Sounds simple, right? The truth is, the process that follows can be far from simple.

Intestate succession laws decide who inherits property of a deceased person when no will is left. In this situation, they are automatically entered into the state’s intestacy probate process. Each state controls the functioning of this process through the intestacy succession laws found in the Texas Probate Code, Title 2, Subtitle E, Chapter 201. This law dictates the dispersal of the deceased person’s probate estate.

About Intestate Estates in San Antonio

Throughout the probate process, the beneficiaries are required to demonstrate to a court that the distribution of property is fair and honest. Debts, bills or any property that was owned by the decedent at the time of their death becomes part of the probate. Outstanding debt will be subtracted from the total sum of properties and the remaining balance is separated according to law. The cost of probate can vary drastically, and it can take upwards of two years for the entire process to complete.

The distribution of property upon death, once heirship (title) is determined, is according to the Laws of Descent and Distribution, found in Tex. Est. Code §§ 201.001 to 201.152. The actual application of the law is best performed by examining the facts of the decedent’s family history and comparing it to those persons surviving.

The statutes in force at the time of death govern the nature of the decedent’s estate and determine who is entitled to share in the estate

Assets Unaffected by Texas Intestate Succession

Many assets don’t go through your will and in turn are not impacted by intestate succession laws. We have included some examples below:

  • proceeds from life insurance
  • property you’ve transferred to a living trust
  • funds in an IRA, 401(k), or other retirement account
  • property owned with someone else in joint tenancy
  • payable-on-death bank accounts

These assets go to the named beneficiary or to the surviving co-owner, whether or not you have a will.

Texas Intestate Distribution Chart

The distribution of the estate depends on whether or not you have parents, living children or other close relatives when you die under intestate succession.


We are experienced probate attorneys who represent clients with probate matters in the San Antonio area. Do you need help with an intestate estate matter in San Antonio or the surrounding communities?

Give us a call us at 210-436-6601.