Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
Hi; My goal is to provide you with great service - if you have any questions during our chat, please ask! I'll do my best to ensure your satisfaction! I'm sorry to hear of your family's loss. In Texas, if the deceased has children, then his separate property is divided so that the surviving spouse receives 1/3 of the personal property and a life estate (the right to live in/use) in 1/3 of the real property. If the deceased has no children, then the surviving spouse receives 1/2 of the real property that is separate, with the remainder going to the deceased parents/siblings. Since your mother made contributions to the house (the house being separate property) she is entitled to reimbursement for money paid towards this asset. This is an equitable doctrine, meaning it is within the judge's discretion. So the judge has leeway to award the portion that he deems is "equitable" or fair.
Sec. 3.404. APPLICATION OF INCEPTION OF TITLE RULE; OWNERSHIP INTEREST NOT CREATED. (a) This subchapter does not affect the rule of inception of title under which the character of property is determined at the time the right to own or claim the property arises.
(b) A claim for reimbursement under this subchapter does not create an ownership interest in property, but does create a claim against the property of the benefited estate by the contributing estate. The claim matures on dissolution of the marriage or the death of either spouse.