Proving Loss of Inheritance in a Wrongful Death Case

Attorney Doug Goyen If a family member died as a result of negligence, you may be able to file a claim for loss of inheritance. A personal injury lawyer from our office will assist in determining that claim. We will begin working on your case right away. Contact the Law Office of Doug Goyen to discuss your case and any claims you may have. We have worked in personal injury including wrongful death cases since 1997. Call (972) 599 4100 for a free consultation.

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A beneficiary under the Act may present a claim for loss of inheritance in a Wrongful Death case. Columbia Med. Ctr. v. Hogue, 271 S.W.3d 238, 254 (Tex.2008); Yowell v. Piper Aircraft Corp., 703 S.W.2d 630, 633 (Tex.1986).


coffin If the decedent would have earned no more than the family needed for support, or if the decedent would have outlived the wrongful-death beneficiaries, damages for loss of inheritance should be denied. Yowell, 703 S.W.2d at 633; see Sanchez, 107 S.W.3d at 27; see Columbia Med. Ctr 271 S.W.3d at 254-55 (without some evidence of beneficiary’s health, evidence was insufficient to determine beneficiary would have outlived decedent).

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Loss of inheritance is defined as the present value that the decedent would, in reasonable probability, have added to the estate and left at natural death to the statutory wrongful-death beneficiaries but for the wrongful act causing the premature death. Sanchez v. Mica Corp., 107 S.W.3d 13, 27 (Tex.App.-San Antonio 2002, pet. granted, judgm’t vacated w.r.m.); see Columbia Med. Ctr., 271 S.W.3d at 253-54. The plaintiff must offer proof of what the decedent’s total income and expenditures would have been over the decedent’s expected lifetime and proof that the plaintiff would probably have been the beneficiary of the decedent’s estate. See Columbia Med. Ctr., 271 S.W.3d at 254; C&H Nationwide, Inc. v. Thompson, 903 S.W.2d 315, 323-24 (Tex.1994).

The present value of the amount that the decedent would have, in all likelihood, added to the estate and left to the beneficiaries in the event of a “natural” death – but for the wrongful act that caused the premature death – is used to calculate the damage for loss of inheritance.

A beneficiary must demonstrate that the decedent would have accumulated money or assets AND that he would have left this to the beneficiary in some way.

A jury may decide whether the decedent (or the decedent’s family) would have consumed the entire amount claimed (thus not leaving any more for a beneficiary). Furthermore, there must be evidence that the beneficiary would have outlived the decedent. Yowell v. Piper Aircraft Corp., 703 S.W.2d 630, 632 (Tex. 1986).

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that in order to recover for loss of inheritance, the Plaintiffs must demonstrate that they would have been the beneficiaries of the estate and provide evidence from which the amount of the estate could reasonably be calculated; and, because the loss is economic in nature, the calculation must be the “present value” of the estate amount. C & H Nationwide v. Thompson, 903 S.W.2d 315, 324 (Tex. 1994).

Contact the Law Office of Doug Goyen at (972) 599 4100 to discuss your case and determine what damages, including loss of inheritance, you may be able to recover on behalf of the estate or statutory beneficiaries in your wrongful death case. Don’t expect your insurance company to treat you fairly. Call to discuss your situation with our personal injury attorney.

Call For A Free Case Review (972) 599 4100


If you are looking for a wrongful death lawyer, call (972) 599 4100. We offer free phone consultations with our auto accident attorney. We also provide a free strategy session. The strategy session includes a summary of your case, legal issues involved, and legal issues we identify as being critical to maximizing the compensation owed.


You owe us nothing if we are unable to recover. We charge a contingency fee structured to take a percentage of what we recover. As a performance-based contract, the better we do for you, the better we do for ourselves. This aligns our interests in the case with our client’s interests.


Law Office of Doug Goyen
15851 Dallas Pkwy #605
Addison, Texas 75001
(972) 599 4100 phone
(972) 398 2629 fax

Directions to our office: We are on the southbound side of the service road to the Tollway. Stay on the Dallas North Tollway until you come to the Keller Springs exit. Take the Keller Spring exit. Stay on the service road on the southbound side and go just past Keller Springs. Our office is the 2nd building south of Keller Springs, located on the service road to the North Dallas Tollway in the Madison Business Center on the 6th floor.

By Doug Goyen,

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Client Reviews
You want a great lawyer who keeps you informed on whats going on speaks with you personally and gets the job done call Doug Goyen. He is excellent & very professional you wont go wrong choosing him!! Thanks again for all your help Mr. Goyen! Socorro V.
Very efficient staff. I am VERY pleased with this firm. Gina W.
Very professional job handling my accident claim. I had some ER bills, and some visits to my ortho after (and various other bills that kept coming in). I was afraid I was going to get stuck owing money, but Doug Goyen took care of the case and had everything paid, including compensating me for the injury. Great lawyer IMO. I felt like my case was taken care of very well. Thx!! Bernard M.
Doug is a great attorney. He took care of my auto accident claim promptly, and answered any questions I had. I also had one of my hospital bills go into collections for non-payment. I was able to contact Doug a year after the accident, and received a copy of the check the hospital claimed they didn’t receive. I highly recommend this guy. David J.
The Law Office of Doug Goyen helped me recovery every bit I was owed on my claim. Very happy I used them. They knew what they were doing, and kept me informed. I felt taken care of the whole way. You wont go wrong using them. Arthur H.
Mr. Goyen helped me take on my own insurance company, the great and mighty Allstate. My prior firm basically dumped me, with a permanent injury because the case didn’t meet their financial guidelines for a settlement. I was a bicycle rider hit by a car driver at an intersection, and Allstate was the company on BOTH SIDES OF THE CLAIM. My own insurance company tried to throw me under the bus to limit their payout! Without Mr. Goyen’s help, I would have been left with NOTHING! I had thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills, unable to receive treatment to correct the issue. He was unafraid and helped me get the best settlement I could … I am tremendously thankful! Pamala M.