Houston, TX Consumer Law

Houston, Texas 77001

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Welcome to LegalConsumer.com: Access to Justice for Texas Consumers

Welcome Houston, TX consumers! Congratulations on deciding to defend your rights under Texas law! Our seasoned lawyer editors have been translating legalese into plain English for over 35 years.

Here you'll find free tools, plain-English explanations of federal, state, and local laws and procedures, and the best local Texas resources on Probate & Inheritance Law, Bankruptcy, Unemployment BenefitsWage & Hour Laws, Obamacare (ACA -Affordable Care Act),Child Custody Law, and Democracy & Voting Rights.

Free Texas Resources For Consumers

Texans enjoy several generous protections under state law, ranging from the unlimited protection of real estate in its homestead exemption,  to its ample protection of personal property (up to $50,000!! far more than many states) in bankruptcy.

Most Texans can take advantage of efficient small estate procedures, especially if they use probate-avoidance methods available in Texas.

Texas consumer law has several unique aspects that set it apart from other states. Here's an overview:

  1. Bankruptcy: Texas offers generous exemptions for those filing for bankruptcy. For instance, the Texas homestead exemption is particularly broad, allowing unlimited value in one's home, provided it doesn't exceed 10 acres in a city, town, or village, or 100 acres elsewhere (200 acres for families). This means that in bankruptcy, individuals can protect a significant amount of property from being liquidated to pay creditors.

  2. Inheritance Law: Texas is a community property state, meaning that all property acquired during marriage is considered jointly owned by both spouses and is divided equally upon divorce. This can significantly impact inheritance, as spouses typically inherit all community property. Additionally, if a person dies without a will, Texas law has specific rules for how their property is distributed, which is different from many other states.

  3. Wage and Hour Law, including Wage Garnishment: Texas has strict laws regarding wage garnishment. Creditors cannot garnish wages for consumer debt like credit cards, personal loans, or medical bills. However, there are exceptions for child support, student loans, federal taxes, and criminal restitution. The state also sets its own minimum wage and work hour regulations, which can be more stringent than federal law.

  4. Debt Collection Procedures and Laws: Texas law provides a number of protections to consumers against abusive or unfair debt collection practices. Debt collectors are prohibited from using fraudulent, coercive, or abusive tactics to collect debts. Texas also has a statute of limitations on debt, which limits the amount of time a creditor can pursue legal action to collect a debt.

Scroll down to learn more.

Free Tools and Information for Houston, TX Consumers

Texas Inheritance Law & Probate Procedure

  • How Probate Works in Texas: How to handle the probate of an inheritance at Harris County's probate court.
  • Small Estates Procedures in Texas: Learn how to use Texas's Small Estate procedures that can save you time and money.
    • In Texas you can use an Affidavit if the entire estate, not including homestead and exempt property, is worth $75,000 or less and there's no Will.  A probate judge must approve the Affidavit. Can be used to transfer homestead, but no other real estate. There is a 30-day waiting period.

      Tex. Est. Code 205.001-008.

      You can use a summary probate procedure if the value of the property doesn't exceed what's needed to pay family allowance and certain creditors.

      Tex. Est. Code 354.001.

      "Independent administration" is available, regardless of value of estate, it is requested in the Will or all inheritors agree to it.

      Tex. Est. Code 401.001 and following.

      Texas offers simpler procedures available for smaller estates. The two most common options are:

      1. Small Estate Affidavit: This is a simplified probate process that can be used when the value of the deceased person's assets, excluding real estate, is $75,000 or less. The deceased person must have had a valid will, or if they did not have a will, they must have died intestate (without a will) and met certain other criteria. The person who is entitled to inherit the property can complete a small estate affidavit and present it to the holder of the property (such as a bank or other financial institution) to transfer the property to them. Texas Estates Code § 205.001-205.008.

      2. Muniment of Title: This is a court order that can be used to transfer title of property when the deceased person had a valid will and there are no outstanding debts or liabilities other than those secured by liens on real property. This process does not involve the appointment of an executor, and can be used when the value of the estate, excluding real estate, is $75,000 or less. Texas Estates Code § 257.001-257.010.

      It's important to note that these simplified procedures may not be appropriate or available in all cases, and the specific requirements and procedures may vary depending on the circumstances. It's always a good idea to consult with an experienced probate attorney to determine the best course of action.


  • Texas Estate Taxes:
    • Texas, like most states, does not impose an estate or inheritance tax. Only a few states do.

  • Avoiding Probate in Texas. Find out what property bypasses probate death and goes directly to beneficiaries. such as:
    • Transfer on Death Deeds (TODDs)
      • Transfer on death deeds (TODDs) are allowed in Texas, as are common law "Ladybird Deeds".  

        Texas is unusual in that it has both:

        • a statutory transfer on death deed law, and
        • a tradition of allowing so called  "ladybird deeds" under common law.

        Both of these instruments are similar in what they do -- transfer ownership at the moment of death --  but the statutory TODD deed has limitations on it. It is meant to be a simple solution for simple situations.

Texas Wage & Hour Law

  • Texas Minimum Wage:  
    • Texas has a minimum wage law. The current minimum wage in Texas is $7.25 per hour for non-exempt employees, which matches the federal minimum wage. However, a new law, the Texas Fair Minimum Wage Act, was signed in 2023, and it will gradually increase the state's minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by 2026. The law will take effect on January 1, 2024, with an initial increase to $9.50 per hour

      Harris County Minimum Wage

      The minimum wage in Harris County is $9.50 an hour, the state minimum wage. Texas law prohibits city and county governments from adopting a local minimum wage that's higher than the state minimum wage.  

      Houston Minimum Wage

      The minimum wage in Houston, Texas, is $9.50 an hour, the state minimum wage. Texas law prohibits city and county governments from adopting a local minimum wage that's higher than the state minimum wage.

  • Overtime Pay: Every state has rules about weekly maximum hours and overtime. Learn about the overtime laws in Texas and whether they apply to you.
  • Wage Claims: If you're being unlawfully underpaid, you need to learn how to file a "Wage Claim" in Texas. 
  • Tips : Every state has special pay rates for tipped workers. Find out the rules for tipped workers in Texas.
    • In Texas, your employer may pay you a minimum wage of $2.13 an hour, as long as you earn enough in tips to bring your total hourly pay up to the full minimum wage, $7.25 an hour. If you don’t earn enough in tips to bring your compensation to the full minimum wage, your employer must make up the difference.

Bankruptcy & Debt

    • for Harris County, Texas (applies the state and county income and expense standards into your means test calculation. Updated with the latest median income and expense standards for May 15, 2024)
  • Texas BANKRUPTCY EXEMPTION FINDER: Search detailed listings of bankruptcy exemptions under Texas law and Federal law, for use in filing out Schedule C, when you file for bankruptcy. 
    • Federal Exemptions available in Texas?:  
      • Yes. Federal exemptions are available.

    • Texas Homestead Exemption
      • Unlimited; property cannot exceed 10 acres in town, village, city or 100 acres (200 for families) elsewhere; sale proceeds exempt for 6 months after sale (renting okay if another home not acquired, Prop. 41.003)
        Must file homestead declaration, or court will file it for you and charge you for doing so

    • Texas Vehicle Exemption
      • 1 two-, three- or four-wheeled motor vehicle per family member or per single adult who holds a driver's license; or, if not licensed, who relies on someone else to operate vehicle

  • Texas BANKRUPTCY COURT ESSENTIAL INFO: Get information about using your local bankruptcy court.

    Texas is divided into 4 federal districts with main cities in

    We'll tell you which bankruptcy forms you need and where to find them.

Texas Unemployment Benefits

Democracy In Texas, Harris County, Houston 

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