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Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.
Ok, first I have to tell you that anything that you do is going to have to be done through the court...there is just no other way around it.. If you can answer a couple questions for me, I think I can help.
So can you tell me if you have been in possession of the house all this time?
When you say you "bought it" from the deceased, was there a written contract for the purchase from him to you?
Did anyone every file a probate case to settle the deceased's estate?
Ok, then you would meet the requirement to claim legal ownership of the property under the 10 year rule in TX for "adverse possession". That means that if you maintain exclusive use and possession of a property for over 10 years, you can claim it as your own.
The way you get ownership is you will have to file a "quiet title" action in the local court and claim legal possession of it under the adverse possession laws. As part of the action you will have to serve notice of the action on the seller's heirs and let them know that you are claiming legal ownership. Then they have the right to try and object if they want to. But whether they do or not, it appears as though you have established your claim so the judge should issue an order stating that you are the legal owner of the property and you can then have that recorded in the local land records to establish you as the legal owner.
So I hate to say it, but you will need an attorney to help. This is a standard case so you can shop around for a real estate law attorney based on price because they will all do exactly the same thing in the case... You would need to ask the attorney how much they would charge you to file a "Quiet Title" action....
An attorney will never guarantee a victory... There are just too many things that can go wrong in a case. But based on your comments, it sounds like you have a strong case.
So the information that you have received is apparently the same thing that I told you here. The only question left is how much it is going to cost to get an attorney interested enough to help you. The case is not complex, and as I said, there are the same steps in the case that any attorney on the case would take. So you might need to shop around some more to see if you can find a hungry attorney who would be willing to get it done for around $5K, which would be reasonable considering the amount of work that will be necessary.
I hate to say it, but you probably aren't going to find an attorney who will take weekly payments because it is too much trouble to keep up with.. You might be able to talk an attorney into taking the case, putting a lien on it, and then when you get it in your name, taking a loan out on it to pay the attorney..
You might also contact the local Legal Aid office to see if they could refer you to a low cost or pro bono attorney who might be able to help. The TX Bar Association might also have some referrals for low or no cost attorneys who could help.