I'm talking to you today about how to get your inheritance if you are not a blood relative. I'm talking to you about the problems that arise when someone hasn't left a will.
What Happens Without a Will: Intestate Succession
When a person has not left a will, the state has already codified or put into its legislature a way for inheritance to occur. In other words, the state has designated, like if you are buried, whether or not you have children, what percentages they get, the state will, through this process called Intestate Succession, meaning who takes your assets when you have not designated who you want them to go to.
If you had a will, you would just designate someone. You could even have the cat getting something, you could have the church getting something, or you could name your loved ones and your favorite charities.
But when you don't take the action of actually writing a will, as I stated before, the state of Texas will write a will for you. They have the schema laws called Intestate Succession. Now when it comes to your will, you can actually disinherit your children. But if you don't have a will, the state is going to consider the children that were born inside of the marriage and all children that were not a part of the marriage but had been proven to be at the seed of the deceased.
How Do You Get Your Inheritance When There's No Will
How do you get your inheritance if you were not born to the deceased, but you were raised up in the home? Everybody held you out as the daughter or the son and low and behold, your loved one has died and you're finding out, you're having this question as to whether or not I'm an heir or whether and what portion do I share with the people I call my siblings.
Now under the law, your children are those people who are either born to you naturally birthed, or the children that you have adopted. Gone through a legal proceeding where the natural parents rights are cut, terminated. And the person who's petitioning the court will petition to be your mother or your father. If you have been adopted, you share equally with all of your sisters and brothers.
But say for some reason that they didn't get around to adopting you, but you lived in the house, you were raised in the house, they went to your PTA meetings, your parents signed your report cards, you were on their health insurance plan. All of these things that show that there was an intention or that they held you out as their child and that there was an intention to adopt you, but for whatever reason, they did not adopt you.
Even though you're not a blood relative, which the statute covers, and even though you were not adopted, in this situation where you find yourself as being held out as the child, but was never adopted, then there is still hope because you can basically petition a court to say that you were adopted by estoppel.
Adoption by Estoppel
Adoption by estoppel is a legal proceeding where you bring all of these factors to the court and your argument is that the parent that died intended to adopt you because they held you out. And if you bring things like birthday cards, proof that you were on the medical insurance, et cetera, then you will have to basically go forward to petition the court, but there is a way that if you meet these criteria for you to inherit with the rest of your siblings.