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Texas’ homestead laws provide residents with generous exemptions from creditors’ claims. If you live in Texas and owe money to a creditor, the state’s homestead laws strictly limit what a creditor can garnish, lien or collect from you. The state’s generous homestead allowance extends to probate administration. Spouses who survive their significant others have homestead property rights under Texas law. The Texas homestead laws allow surviving spouses to use their homestead property and insulate it from the reach of creditors. As such, in most cases, creditors cannot use a surviving spouse’s exempt homestead property to satisfy its debts. However, in limited circumstances, a surviving spouse’s homestead property can be used to pay off certain homestead debts, including unpaid taxes, mechanics’ or construction liens and some types of unpaid mortgage debts. Furthermore, a surviving spouse’s homestead property is not subject to distribution to other heirs and beneficiaries.
In addition to providing homestead property rights to surviving spouses, Texas law also gives surviving spouses the right to receive many different types of personal property for their personal use after their spouses die. Known as exempt personal property set-asides, under Texas law, a surviving spouse has an ownership right to most personal property, in addition to real homestead exempt property. If you are a surviving spouse, you should contact our office to understand your homestead and set-aside property rights under Texas law.
The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.