Written by attorney Stephen A. Mendel

Children Born Out of Wedlock & The Texas Probate Code

A person who dies without a Will is considered intestate. An intestate decedent is subject to state probate laws establishing an order of succession for his or her heirs. In Texas, the Texas Probate Code establishes the intestacy rights that children have to inherit from their parents who die without validly created wills.

According to the Texas Probate Code, a child born out of wedlock has a right to receive an intestacy share only from his or her biological or adoptive mother, and his or her mother has a right to receive an intestacy share from her child. However, the Texas Legislature created different rules for fathers and their presumed children.

According to the Texas Probate Code, a child does not have an automatic right to receive an inheritance from his or her father without a valid will. In other words, a child born out of wedlock does not have an intestate right to his or her father’s property, unless the child is adjudicated to be a child of the father, was adopted by the father, or the father executed an acknowledgment of paternity. This also applies to the father’s other family members who predecease a child born out of wedlock.

If the purported child’s father places his name on his illegitimate child’s birth certificate, a child born out of wedlock has a right to intestate succession. Additionally, a father who legally adopts his child born out of wedlock gives the child intestacy rights. A father can also establish paternity through a legal paternity proceeding initiated before a child’s 20TH birthday. A father who voluntarily consents to the paternity by providing a notarized signature stating such also gives the child an intestate right. There are a few other limited situations in which a child born out of wedlock can inherit from his or her father, but in most cases, he or she may not.

If you have questions about how children born out of wedlock are impacted by the Texas Probate Code, or other questions regarding the probate process, then please call for an initial one-hour consultation, which is at no-charge. We at the Mendel Law Firm can help you uncover your options and choose the strategy that is best for you.

Additional resources provided by the author

The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. 1155 Dairy Ashford, Suite 104 Houston, TX 77079 O: 281-759-3213 F: 281-759-3214 Email: [email protected]

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