Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
Hi; My goal is to provide you with great service - if you have any questions during our chat, please ask! I'll do my best to ensure your satisfaction! I'm sorry to hear of your family's loss. In Texas, if the deceased has children, then his separate property is divided so that the surviving spouse receives 1/3 of the personal property and a life estate (the right to live in/use) in 1/3 of the real property. If the deceased has no children, then the surviving spouse receives 1/2 of the real property that is separate, with the remainder going to the deceased parents/siblings. Since your mother made contributions to the house (the house being separate property) she is entitled to reimbursement for money paid towards this asset. This is an equitable doctrine, meaning it is within the judge's discretion. So the judge has leeway to award the portion that he deems is "equitable" or fair.
Sec. 3.404. APPLICATION OF INCEPTION OF TITLE RULE; OWNERSHIP INTEREST NOT CREATED. (a) This subchapter does not affect the rule of inception of title under which the character of property is determined at the time the right to own or claim the property arises.
(b) A claim for reimbursement under this subchapter does not create an ownership interest in property, but does create a claim against the property of the benefited estate by the contributing estate. The claim matures on dissolution of the marriage or the death of either spouse.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).