You worked hard on your estate, and you want those you love most to benefit from it after your death. Because of this, you created a will to appoint your heirs so that they can receive a share of your estate upon your death. However, you may be worried that they will also get your debts. The good thing is that your relatives won’t be liable for your debts unless they cosigned the debt obligation. However, as Texas is a community property state, things will be different for your spouse.
After your death, your estate will go to probate, a legal process in which your executor will manage and distribute your estate according to your wishes. One of the executor’s duties will be to pay all debts, claims and taxes that you owe at the moment of your death. Usually, the executor will use your estate to pay off those debts before they can distribute your estate among your heirs. This means that your heirs won’t be responsible for paying your debts unless they cosigned an obligation. For example, they would be liable for your debts if you cosigned a loan or have a joint credit account with them.
A community property state
Your children, siblings or parents won’t have to pay off your debts if they did not cosign an obligation to them. However, things may be different for your spouse because Texas is a community property estate. This means that all debts and assets acquired during the marriage belong to both spouses, so creditors may be able to pursue your spouse for some of your debts after your death.
You must know that just because Texas is a community property state, that does not mean that your spouse will have to pay off all your remaining debts. This is a common misconception. After your death, the probate court will evaluate who incurred the debt, when and for what purpose. For example, your spouse may not have to pay debts that you acquired for your business if they did not have control over your company. However, they may have to pay for the debts that you acquired to support the household. It will all depend on the purpose of the debt and the moment you acquired it.
Ensuring future protection for your loved ones
The courts consider the liability of debts according to the complex marital property laws in Texas. If you want to ensure no harm comes to your spouse in the event of your death, an experienced lawyer could advise you on the different measures you can take to protect your spouse, such as drafting a post-nuptial agreement or putting your assets in a revocable trust. You don’t want your spouse to suffer when you are gone, and you still have time to prevent that from happening.