Desoto, TX asked in Estate Planning, Intellectual Property and Tax Law for Texas

Q: My Husband inherited property from his late Father who left no will. He has two sisters, one wanted to sell, my Husband

doesn't want to sell. My Husband has been paying taxes on the property for the last five years. We want to place a house on the lot. How does he claim full ownership of the property? My Husband's Mother is still alive, and wants him to keep the property. The spouses divorced years ago, but there isn't another wife nor children.

3 Lawyer Answers

Terry Lynn Garrett

  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Austin, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Since there was no Will and the wife apparently predeceased, the property will pass to all three children under Affidavits of Heirship, a Small Estate Affidavit or an Application for Determination of Heirship. While your husband may have been paying taxes for five years, that gives him a claim for reimbursement, not title to the property to the exclusion of his sisters. If they like, they can gift or sell their interests to him.

Marcos Garciaacosta and Bruce Alexander Minnick agree with this answer

Bruce Alexander Minnick

  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Tallahassee, FL

A: I agree with Ms. Garrett. Under these facts, it appears that the spouse of the decedent legally owns the property, and thus will own all of it until she passes (or sells the property). Selling the property to any one sibling, or to two of them, will likely cause turmoil in the family, which may lead to unnecessary litigation.

After mom passes, and after the probate court establishes who owns what (it looks like all three siblings will have equal ownership "shares"), your husband will have to find a way to purchase the equitable interests of his two sisters. If the three cannot agree, there are other legal ways to solve the problem

Marcos Garciaacosta agrees with this answer

A: Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. That is probably the best option you have as far as getting ownership over the property. Expect to pay, buy.

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