Thank you so much for following up. You are correct..I never received your response. I appreciate your patience and I truly apologize for any inconvenience.
Thanks so much...it does. So, the surviving spouse has a life estate. As the owner of a life estate, she has the legal requirement to pay to maintain the house, including paying the property taxes, HOA
fees, and any repairs. Since she has not been paying these, you can terminate the life estate. If she will not voluntarily agree to a termination, you can file a suit and the court will order it forfeited. Ownership then vests in you and your sister and you can move forward to sell the house.
After the termination of the life estate, you can force her out, but you have to you do need to go through the legal process to avoid being accused of an illegal eviction
. After the life estate termination, she would be legally deemed to be a month to month
tenant. As such, you can terminate this tenancy by giving written notice of at least 30 days. If she does not leave voluntarily, under Texas law, you will then need to give a 3-Day Notice to Quit...meaning she must vacate the premises within that period or face formal eviction. Then, if she still has not left, you will have to file a petition for an eviction order. Once that is granted...you can have the sheriff evict. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to move her stuff out, change the locks, or take any other means of "self-help" eviction prior to obtaining the eviction order. In the interim, if she poses any threat to your person or property, you can get a restraining order to get your relative out of the house immediately while the eviction process runs its course.
This is the part of my job I don't like...when the law is not in favor of my customer. I wish I could tell you that you could just automatically terminate the life estate and then force her out immediately, but I can only provide you information based on the law so that you can act on the best available information to you. ………..I wish I had better news, but can only hope you recognize and understand my predicament and don't shoot the messenger. I'm sorry!
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