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  • Writer's pictureAdam Funk

How wrongful death proceeds are distributed in Texas


Wrongful death is a legal term that refers to a death that is caused by the negligence or willful misconduct of another person or entity. When someone dies due to wrongful death, their surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party. If the lawsuit is successful, the family members may be awarded damages to compensate them for their losses.

One of the most important questions that wrongful death plaintiffs have is how the proceeds from a lawsuit are distributed. In Texas, the distribution of wrongful death proceeds is governed by the Texas Wrongful Death Act. The Texas Wrongful Death Act states that the proceeds of a wrongful death lawsuit must be distributed to the decedent's surviving spouse, children, and parents. If the decedent has no surviving spouse, children, or parents, the proceeds may be distributed to the decedent's estate.

The Texas Wrongful Death Act does not specify how the proceeds of a wrongful death lawsuit should be divided among the surviving spouse, children, and parents. The division of the proceeds is left to the discretion of the court. The court will typically consider a number of factors when determining how to divide the proceeds, including the following:

  • The relationship between the decedent and the surviving family members

  • The financial needs of the surviving family members

  • The contributions that the decedent made to the surviving family members

  • The pain and suffering that the surviving family members have experienced

If the surviving family members cannot agree on how to divide the wrongful death proceeds, they may file a petition with the court asking the court to make a decision for them. The court will then hold a hearing and make a decision based on the factors listed above.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind about the distribution of wrongful death proceeds in Texas:

  • Minor children: If the decedent has minor children, the court will typically appoint a guardian to manage the children's share of the proceeds. The guardian will be responsible for using the proceeds to provide for the children's needs until they reach the age of majority.

  • Creditors: If the decedent has any outstanding debts, those debts may be paid from the wrongful death proceeds before the remaining proceeds are distributed to the surviving family members.

  • Taxes: Wrongful death proceeds are generally not taxable. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if the wrongful death proceeds are used to pay for attorney's fees or other expenses related to the lawsuit, those expenses may be taxable.

If you have lost a loved one due to wrongful death, you should contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal rights and options. A personal injury attorney can help you to understand the wrongful death process and can represent you in court if you decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Here are some additional tips for dealing with the distribution of wrongful death proceeds:

  • Be prepared for a long and complex process. The distribution of wrongful death proceeds can be a long and complex process. It is important to be patient and to understand that the process may take several months or even years to complete.

  • Communicate with your family members. If you are not the only surviving family member, it is important to communicate with your family members about how you would like to distribute the proceeds. This will help to avoid conflict and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

  • Seek professional advice. If you have any questions about the distribution of wrongful death proceeds, you should consult with an attorney or financial advisor. They can help you to understand your options and to make the best decisions for your family.

The death of a loved one is a difficult and emotional experience. Dealing with the distribution of wrongful death proceeds can add to the stress of the situation. However, it is important to remember that you have legal rights and that there are people who can help you through the process.

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