Real Estate Law
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I have finally been able to access my account after Just Answer has had to change my PW three times.
I have answered your question a couple times on different screens and had a feeling you weren't getting my replies.
My father both the house approximately 30 years ago when he was married to his second wife. They lived in the house until she passed away in 1999. He married his third wife in 2000 and lived there with her until his death in 2005. Hope this answers your question and I'm happy to provide any info. It should be much easier now that I can access the account.
Thank you so much for the reply. Although this may be a difficult message to deliver, it actually brings a logical solution to our dilemma. Three questions.
First, are you in a position to handle this as the attorney for my sister and myself?
Second, if we asked her to reimburse us for what we have spent on the taxes and HOA fees, which I doubt seriously she can do, would that be advisable with the understanding that she would have to shoulder this responsibility from now on?
Third, it is the attorney for my father's estate who told us on many occasions that: 1) because Texas is a CP state, she could live in the house as long as she desired. He did say it was her responsibility to pay taxes and HOA fees. When she stopped paying, we were told that if we didn't pay taxes, it would impact our credit, my sister and my credit. We paid him $20-25k to help us settle the estate and a large portion of that was around this issue. Do we have any recourse against him, especially if she can't repay the thousands we have paid in taxes and HOA?
Thanks SO MUCH!
Thank you so very much. I will give you the highest rating possible later this evening as I have to run out.
May I ask what law school you attended? I assume you would be on their list of graduates whom they recommend. (Hey, I told you I'd really, REALLY like your help. :)
(Obviously, if you really can't because of your contract with JustAnswer, I will reluctantly submit. HOWEVER......if they is a way we can secure your help through any 'legal, moral, and ethical' channel, I turn into Super Woman on a mission!
Good evening, again,
I met with my sister and reviewed my correspondence with you. We need one piece of clarification and if we need to pay for that, we are willing.
Neither of us has heard the term 'Life Estate' and consequently are a bit confused. What my father's attorney told us on several occasions is that Texas is a Community Property state and Texas has Homestead laws. I remember him using the term Community Property law and my sister the Homestead term. In either case, we are certain that he told us that it is the CP/Homestead laws that allow our father's surviving spouse to remain in the house, "as long as she wants".
So, in Texas, does the Life Estate have to be in writing to be in effect after the death of a spouse? Neither of us is aware of any mention in the will nor any addendums to the will stating the creation of a 'Life Estate'. We just need some clarification around this before we move forward. We agree we want to offer to let her stay in the house, if she can and will reimburse us. If she can't, we will inform her that she must vacate the premises and why. Since I was the one who told her that she could live there indefinitely, I need solid legal documentation to show her why her rights are terminated. She was told it was her responsibility to pay taxes and HOA and she did pay them at first. However, the small business my father owned and she managed was forced to close its doors a year or two after his death and she had no income and opted to go on SS benefits. So, I need to be very clear and able to communicate this to her and would appreciate your lay interpretation of the law. And, if it is easy for you to give me the location of the laws in state records, that would be amazing.
You have already eased our troubled hearts considerably. My husband is a pastor of a small church and I have been out of work for some time. The mounting financial pressure is taking a toll. I am hoping Dad's widow will get help from her adult children and be able to remain in the house, repay us what we have paid, and keep up with the financial responsibilities so everyone would win.
Thanks you again and again!
Hopefully you remember me and also have access to our correspondence. I wrote to my father's widow in August explaining that I am not working and my husband has not received a raise in salary at the small church he pastors. Consequently, we are getting into more serious financial challenges and I could no long pay the taxes and homeowners on the house. So, I gently suggested one of two options. 1. If she is able to repay what my sister and I have paid (taxes and HOA) for the last 7 years by Aug 30 and understood that she would be responsible forward, then we would be very pleased with that. If, however, she could not do that, we were asking her to move out by the end of September. I asked her to let us know what she would do by August 15.
We received no word of her decision, so I sent a letter around the 22 of August saying that we 'assumed' that no word meant that she is planning to move. I told her that I would plan to come down the first week of October to begin to get estimates to get the house ready to go on the market.
On Saturday, I received a letter from her, "Dear Paula, If it is your plan to evict me you need to send me legal notification. Thank you. Betty
Meanwhile, while I was communicating with you, my sister also consulted with an attorney on Just Answer. Here is the transcript of the conversation she had. As you will see, it seems to contradict your conclusions on our options.
It would be most helpful if you could re-read your comments, read his, and merge the two opinions for us. We really, really need help and a decisive course of action. Thanks so much, Paula
Sorry. Here it is:
Okay! Thank you. That is the logical conclusion, but the law isn't always logical! So, what is the least expensive way I can send her 'legal notification', as she requested? Or what do I need to do next?
Then that is exactly what I will do! Thanks for the legalese, which I will include. I did send the gentle letter via certified, but will put some teeth with this letter. Your advice to "tell her if she wants to retain her rights, she must bear the responsibility that accompany those rights. I would let her know that otherwise you will have no choice but to proceed with a legal proceeding to dispossess her of her homestead rights due to her default." means I should give her more time to reimburse us, or can I use your language 'requiring' that unless she pays, she is expected to be out by 9/30? I will state that the letter I'm sending will serve as the legal notification, based on an attorney's advice. Is that all correct and best approach?
THANK YOU SO MUCH! Do I owe you for this follow up?
Hope all is well with you and yours. I took your advice and sent a letter via certified mail. It arrived on Sept 5. In the letter, I outlined and quoted what you said about her right to stay in the home if she will reimburse us what we have spent on taxes and HOA fees. I told her that we are open to getting reimbursed and encourage her to stay in the home. We said that we are expecting her to move out the end of September and that I would go there the first week of October to begin the work to get the house ready to sell.
The mailing envelope and the letter inside were returned unopened to me today. So, what should I do? I assume I will need to file a report of some type at the Harris County Courthouse in Houston. Do I have to hire an attorney?
Thanks so much. You are so helpful!!
Ok. Thanks. I've got to go to bed, but will re-read tomorrow.
You are the best!!
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