When talking about probate or an estate, the place (house, mobile home, townhome) where the decedent lived and that was owned, at least in part, by the decedent, is the decedent’s homestead. Texas protects the homestead (to the degree the decedent owned it) when a surviving spouse or minor children live there. Texas also protects the homestead under certain conditions when an adult child lives in the home.
In addition to the homestead, some of the decedent’s property is considered to be exempt. Being exempt means that it cannot be used to pay debts the decedent owed. Instead, when there is not enough money in the estate to pay the debts, this property is saved to help take care of select categories of people. Exempt property includes things such as home furnishings, vehicles for farming and ranching, clothes, tools, a limited amount of jewelry, two firearms, sporting equipment, pets, and certain livestock.
When the estate owes creditors money, before those debts are paid, the family — the surviving spouse and minor children — could get money set aside to help take care of them.
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