Alice, TX asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Texas

Q: Property is in the "estate" of a deceased parent. How can we obtain legal ownership without a will?

We pay all bills and taxes associated with the property and household. There are two other siblings, who have not had anything to do with the property for nearly 20 years, and the spouse of the deceased is still living here but incapable of maintaining anything. The property was acquired before the deceased married.

1 Lawyer Answer
Tammy Lyn Wincott
Tammy Lyn Wincott
  • Real Estate Law Lawyer
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: The spouse will have a right to live their for the remainder of their life regardless of whether it was acquired before marriage.

Ownership of property technically transfers to the legal heirs upon the death of the present owner. If this is your parent and they owned the house before they got married, had 4 children before this marriage, then died - the current spouse would have the right to remain in the house for life but the 4 children would likely be the owners of the house.

There are ways to document this legally; however, it is best if you consult with a probate attorney who can do this for you. It does not have to be a probate attorney where the house is but needs to be one in the same state that knows the laws.

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