Contesting a will in Texas


An old Texas case was faced with these facts: A husband abandoned his wife, with the intention of abandonment, and remained away from her continuously until her death; that he left his wife destitute and without means of support; that she was compelled to earn her living and pay her own way; and, that by such efforts she had earned and accumulated property. After her death, the husband returned to claim her property because she died without a will. The wife had no children.

Is it the law that Husband Inherits Abandoned Wife’s Property? That is the question the court had to answer. The trial court ruled that all the property went to the wife’s brothers and sisters because the husband had abandoned her. The court of appeals reversed. The appeals court stated that it might be conceded that it would seem unjust that the husband should be permitted to share in the property of his wife after having so grossly disregarded the marriage vow, but the statute clearly and unequivocally gives the deceased spouse’s property to the surviving spouse. Since there was never a divorce, the husband was still the husband. 267 S.W. 344.

Did the wife want her husband to have her property? Did she want her brothers and sisters to have it? This is another example of things that can happen if you don’t take care of business. The wife should have filed for divorce but she didn’t. She should have had a will but she didn’t. Maybe this case turned out the way she wanted but that seems unlikely. Don’t wait! When you have a legal problem, fix the legal problem!

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