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Settling the estate of a loved one is not always easy

When a loved one passes away, it is a time of sadness for the entire family. A person's death is always a difficult thing to process, and settling his or her estate can be even more complicated during this difficult time. Even when family members get along and want what is best, there can sometimes be disputes over property, assets and money. 

Before you embark on the process of settling an estate, you may find it beneficial to review inheritance rights and what you can expect. Knowing your rights can help you better protect your interests in the event of a dispute with other beneficiaries or interested parties. Even when a will seems straightforward or the likelihood of a problem seems low, it is always prudent to know your rights.

Inheritance, community property and what is yours 

Texas is a community property state, which could affect what happens to property left behind in a person's estate when there are surprises in a will or no will at all. Despite what a person wrote in his or her will, these laws may impact the ultimate arrangement decided by a judge. The principle of community property may affect you in the following ways: 

  • Community property is generally anything collected, earned, obtained or bought by either spouse during a marriage.
  • You may retain your interest in your half of the marital property, even if a spouse does not specifically say so in his or her will or does not have a will.
  • A spouse does, however, retain the right to do what he or she wants with his or her share of community property. 

Other complicated factors, such as a previous divorce or other beneficiaries contesting the will, can make the process of settling a spouse's estate difficult. No matter how difficult or easy you think it will be to finalize things and move forward, you will find there is significant benefit in working with an experienced attorney along the way. 

If you are dealing with estate complications, believe that you could be at some point or simply want to know about your inheritance rights, you may want to seek an assessment of your case and explanation of your legal options. When you know what to expect and have a grasp of your rights, it can make the complicated process of settling an estate simpler and less stressful.

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William T. Peckham
1104 Nueces Street, Suite 104
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-487-7604
Fax: 512-478-1790
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