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Ask Thomas Swartz Your Own Question
Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 3023
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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My father purchased a home many years ago from an old man

Customer Question

hi my father purchased a home many years ago from an old man the lawyer had attempted to get signatures from his children to sign but one was in jail and the other returned the letter, now my has owned the place but if he ever wants to sell it he technically owns half even though he's paid taxes. how do we obtain ownership do we need a lawyer. Warranty deed
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: texas harris county
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: no
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: can my dad get ownership of the house 100%
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Thomas Swartz replied 1 month ago.

Hello JACUSTOMER,

Without obtaining a deed from the children who did not originally sign their respective shares over to your father, there is no way for your father to obtain a 100% ownership interest in the house. The children still own their respective ownership interest in the property. You must get them to sign over their interest in the property to you father by way of a deed.

However, you indicated that your father has paid all the taxes on the property. Joint owners of property are required to pay their respective share of the real estate taxes on property that is jointly owned. So your father could bring a civil action against the two children to force them to pay their respective share of the real estate taxes. The same would go for other expenses related to the property such as maintenance and utility expenses. If such a legal action is brought or threatened, the children may sign over their interest to your father in order to avoid the litigation.

Thomas

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