Texas Half-Blood Heirs
Contributor, Jennifer Hartman
The term “half-blood” refers to relatives who share only one common ancestor. For example, a brother and sister who have the same mother but different fathers, are “half-blood” siblings. In contrast, siblings who share the same mother and same father are “whole-blood” siblings. Step-siblings, are neither half-blood nor whole-blood siblings.
Why does this distinction matter? At common law, a half-blood heir could not inherit real property from a half-blood decedent who died intestate. This strict rule has since been modified under Texas law.
Chapter 201 of the Texas Estates Code dictates how property is divided if a person dies without a will or when a will does not distribute all of the estate (i.e., partial intestacy). If an estate has no surviving spouse, children, parents or grandparents, property will pass to collateral relatives – including half-blood heirs. In the above scenario, Siblings, whether half- or whole-blood, are first in line to inherit. If no siblings of the deceased exist, the estate will pass to cousins, if any, or further to find a relative with a common ancestor.
How to Calculate Division of an Estate Involving Half-Blood Heirs:
The Texas Estates Code provides that a half-blood heir inherits only half as much as a whole-blood heir. But how do you calculate the total number of shares to distribute and in what proportions? A simple way to calculate the total number of shares is to create two shares for each whole-blood heir and one share for each half-blood heir.
2(# of whole-blood heirs) + 1(# half-blood heirs) = Total Shares
Example 1: Your whole-blood sister and your half-blood brother are your only surviving relatives when you die intestate. Under the Texas Estates Code, your whole-blood sister inherits 2/3 of your estate and your half-blood brother inherits 1/3 of your estate.
Example 2: Your two whole-blood sisters and one half-blood brother are your only surviving relatives when you die intestate. Under the Texas Estates Code, your one half-blood brother inherits 1/5 of your estate and your two whole-blood sisters inherit 2/5 of your estate each.
Example 3: Your half-blood sister has a daughter, your half-blood niece. Your whole-blood brother has a son, your whole-blood nephew. Your half-blood niece and your whole-blood nephew are your only surviving relatives when you die intestate. Under the Texas Estates Code, your whole-blood nephew inherits 2/3 of your estate and your half-blood niece inherits 1/3 of your estate.
Example 4: Your half-blood sister and your half-blood brother are your only surviving relatives when you die intestate. Under the Texas Estates Code, both your half-blood sister and your half-blood brother inherit 1/2 of your estate each. In this situation, because there is no whole-blood sibling, each half-sibling inherits a whole portion.
The distinction between half- and whole-blood heirs is relevant if an estate is being distributed by intestacy to collateral relatives (siblings, aunts/uncles, cousins, nieces/nephews). Further, although a validly executed will may exist, a portion of a decedent’s estate may still pass by intestacy when the will does not distribute a portion of the estate and does not contain a residuary clause.
Mazurek & Holliday PC is a full-service oil gas and energy law firm focused on meeting the energy law needs of our clients throughout the United States. If you have any questions about this topic or any that affect your energy rights, please contact our offices.
 See Tex. Est. Code Ann. § 201.057 (West 2015).