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Does a will override community property in Texas?

Humble, TX |

I moved into my husbands house after marriage because he didn't want to leave it. I'm on the will right now to receive it if he dies before me. If he changes the will later, without my knowledge, does the community property law protect me or is it 100% his children's house though it's our home now?

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Attorney answers 3


Separate property is property owned before marriage, acquired by gift or inheritance, or recovery for personal injuries.Community property is property acquired during the marriage that is not separate property. Therefore, the house that your husband owned before your marriage is not community property and is, instead, his separate property. The "community property law" of Texas does not protect you in this instance. If he changes his will to leave the house to his children, you would have a homestead right to live there, but it would belong to his children. You might have some equitable monetary claims relating to payments or improvements to the house, but you would have no ownership except what he leaves you in his will or he agrees to provide through other means prior to his death.

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The community property law will not protect you because the house is not community property. If he leaves it to you in the will, it will be yours. If he changes the will to leave it to his kids, you will have the right to live there, but have no ownership interest. You may be able to claim some reimbursement of money spent on the home during the marriage (like remodeling, or other improvements). If you have a valid prenuptial agreement, you may have a valid contest to a change in the will. Good luck.

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I agree with the 2 other attorneys plus you might have a life estate - which means that you could live in the house as long as you want but you'd have to pay to maintain it.

I recommend that you pay to sit down with an estate attorney in person & discuss all of your options. This forum is obviously not the place to discuss all the options that could occur. Family law and estate planning law are complex in Texas. Please do not rely on our 3 answers! You need a consultation with an attorney in person! It's worth an hour of an attorney's time to try to explain this to you in plain English -- these legal principals get complex very quickly -- especially when trying to explain them in these free websites.

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