In Texas, property is viewed as separate or community. If you are married, unless there is clear and substantial evidence to the contrary, any assets that are acquired during the marriage are deemed to be owned one-half by the husband of the marriage and one-half by the wife of the marriage. If you are single, a single individual’s estate in Texas consists of all property owned by such individual at the time of death.

Many couples are confused and think that once they are married, everything that they have is community property. This is not true. If you are married, here is a list and description of assets that would be considered separate property

1. If you owned any property prior to getting married, that is your own separate property.

2. Any property that was acquired during the marriage by a gift,  devise, or descent, which could be from an inheritance from Uncle Ted or some other friend or relative, would be viewed as separate property and not community property.

3. If you acquired property during your marriage that was traceable as a change that occurred from previously owned separate property you had, this property may still be considered as separate property.

4. If you have property that was transferred from one spouse to another in the form of a gift, this is viewed as separate property.

5. Damages awarded from a personal injury lawsuit, except for damages representing your earning power, would also be separate property.

However, income from separate property during the marriage is considered community property. It gets complicated if one of the spouses dies without a Will, especially if there is separate property involved.

If you’re uncertain whether or not your assets are community property or separate property, you need to consult a qualified attorney.

Gary Ashmore
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Helping Dallas & Highland Park, Texas area families with Family Law, Probate & Estate Planning needs.