Asked in Estate Planning, Probate and Real Estate Law for Texas

Q: My daughter will be 18 in Just days... is it required that her fathers property and house go into a trust and probate?

The grandad is pretty much much running things now, although there was not a will, he (their dad) was very sick for a long time and it was made very clear that our daughters were to get the house and land. And now the grandad is almost insisting that it be put into a trust.... but my oldest daughter intends to move into that house as soon as she graduates in June, and does not want it put into a trust. But the reason the dad wants to run the trust is so his other son can live there too, which IS ABSOLUTELY NOT WHAT MY DAUGHTERS WANT!! They want him out now!!! Is there anything I can do to make the other son move out of the house and get it into my daughters name???? HELP!! I feel like they are trying to do everything they can to keep that house because they own almost all the property on that block, however, their dad made it very clear that they would have the house when he was gone. Can it be put into my daughter's name as soon as she turns 18 years old, or will it get dragged out?

1 Lawyer Answer
Dillon B Norton
Dillon B Norton
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Houston, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: I'm sorry for your loss. This is never easy and family members being at odds makes things worse. This is a very complicated situation, and you need to contact a probate attorney to help protect your interests and those of your daughters. Without additional facts, it is difficult to ascertain who has rights to the dad's estate. I do know one thing for certain, DO NOT GET BULLIED BY THE GRANDFATHER.

First, I'm sorry to tell you, but there are no oral wills in Texas, and I'm not sure what "it was made very clear" really means. To me, "very clear," means there was there was a legal document like a will, trust, deed of trust, etc. stating that the property was transferred to her during dad's life (or someone for her benefit until she turns 18 at which time it becomes hers), or was clearly bequeathed to her in dad's will. Without any of this, init is unlikely that said property can be in her name if at all before she turns 18. Even if dad had a will, it would have to be probated before beneficiaries could assert any rights to the property.

Your daughter's rights to the property should be asserted through the probate court, assuming she is a rightful heir, which depends on whether dad was married at the time of his death and whether there were any children from outside the marriage. If you were married to dad at the time of his death, and the house and land were community property, then you would be the sole heir of the estate, and you could probably disclaim your interest in the estate so it could pass to your daughters equally assuming there are no other children. If there were any kids from outside the marriage, then dad's share of community property goes to them equally. However, if you were not married to dad when he passed, his children are the sole heirs of his estate. If your daughter turns 18 real soon, then apply to probate the estate at that time, and this could shake out. Of course, this will be different if the house and land was dad's separate property. Also, check the county property records to make sure dad really owns the property.

Also, there is no time limit in Texas for determining heirship. And DO NOT sign anything with the grandfather. Retain independent counsel.

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