If your spouse dies without a valid Texas Marital Property Agreement or Will, Texas laws will decide who inherits your property.

A Marital Property Agreement in Texas will help secure your home if your spouse dies. When entering into a prenuptial or partition agreement, both parties are usually concerned with protecting their assets in the event their marriage fails. Many people are not aware that marital agreements can also protect your assets in the event of a death. Such provisions can really affect the surviving husband or wife’s future financial status.

In Texas, married couples can own property as:

  • Separate Property
  • Community Property
  • Sole Management Community Property
  • Joint Community Property

If you both live in a house that is owned as the separate property of the spouse who passes on, with our standard Texas Marital Property Agreement, the surviving spouse has the right to live in that house for the rest of his or her life. Our standard marital agreements provide the surviving spouse is responsible for all costs associated with living in the house, including mortgage payments, utilities, taxes, etc. A life insurance policy can help with those costs as well. Of course, if the surviving spouse receives the house via the Will of the other, then none of this matters. The surviving spouse will simply own the house. If the spouse who passes on wants to leave the house to someone else, then, with our standard Texas Marital Property Agreement, the surviving spouse can live there for the rest of his or her life. This right to live in the house for a person’s life is called a “Life Estate”.

Three things to keep in mind when drafting a Texas Marital Property Agreement:

  1. If the house is jointly owned by both spouses and the one who passes on does not leave his or her share to the other, will the surviving spouse have a life estate in the portion of the house that was owned by the spouse who passed on?
  2. Make sure the life estate only applies if there is no divorce pending at the time the spouse passes on because the pending divorce means the parties are married at the time of death, and the pending divorce has no effect.
  3. Will the life estate end if the surviving spouse remarries or cohabits with someone in an intimate relationship?

McNamaralawyers.com offers standard online prenuptial and partition agreements as well as custom marital property agreements. Please call us at 281-358-3444 or email us if you have any questions pertaining to a marital agreement that you would like to purchase.