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RayAnswers, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
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Experience:  Texas lawyer for 30 years in Estate law
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Is there an easy and non-costly way to settle my wife estate?

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Is there an easy and non-costly way to settle my wife estate? The only asset we had is our home (homestead) titled on her name in Texas. I need to retitle our home on my name. She passed away four years ago. During her last five years, she has been severely sick and physical disabled with no health insurance. Thus, we have debts from hospitals, physicians and a bank. We have had four children. The youngest one is now 32 years old.

Many thanks.

Thanks for your question and good morning.My sympathy here for your loss of loved one.

In your situation you should be able to use a small estate affidavit here if her interest in the real estate does not exceed $50k.This is an affidavit you fill out in lieu of probate.It would have the effect of transferring her interest to you.

Law here..

§ 137. COLLECTION OF SMALL ESTATES UPON AFFIDAVIT. (a) The distributees of the estate of a decedent who dies intestate shall be entitled thereto, to the extent that the assets, exclusive of homestead and exempt property, exceed the known liabilities of said estate, exclusive of liabilities secured by homestead and exempt property, without awaiting the appointment of a personal representative when: (1) No petition for the appointment of a personal representative is pending or has been granted; and (2) Thirty days have elapsed since the death of the decedent; and (3) The value of the entire assets of the estate, not including homestead and exempt property, does not exceed $50,000; and (4) There is filed with the clerk of the court having jurisdiction and venue an affidavit sworn to by two disinterested witnesses, by all such distributees that have legal capacity, and, if the facts warrant, by the natural guardian or next of kin of any minor or the guardian of any other incapacitated person who is also a distributee, which affidavit shall be examined by the judge of the court having jurisdiction and venue; and (5) The affidavit shows the existence of the foregoing conditions and includes a list of all of the known assets and liabilities of the estate, the names and addresses of the distributees, and the relevant family history facts concerning heirship that show the distributees' rights to receive the money or property of the estate or to have such evidences of money, property, or other rights of the estate as are found to exist transferred to them as heirs or assignees; and (6) The judge, in the judge's discretion, finds that the affidavit conforms to the terms of this section and approves the affidavit; and (7) A copy of the affidavit, certified to by said clerk, is furnished by the distributees of the estate to the person or persons owing money to the estate, having custody or possession of property of the estate, or acting as registrar, fiduciary or transfer agent of or for evidences of interest, indebtedness, property, or other right belonging to the estate. (b) This section does not affect the disposition of property under the terms of a will or other testamentary document nor, except as provided by Subsection (c) of this section, does it transfer title to real property. A bona fide purchaser for value may rely on a recorded affidavit un(c) Title to a decedent's homestead that is the only real property in a decedent's estate may be transferred on an affidavit that meets the requirements of this section. An affidavit that is used to transfer title to a homestead under this section must be recorded in the deed records of a county in which the homestead is located. der this section. A bona fide purchaser for value without actual or constructive notice of an heir who is not disclosed in a recorded affidavit under this section acquires title to a homestead free of the interests of the undisclosed heir, but the bona fide purchaser remains subject to any claim a creditor of the decedent has by law. A purchaser has constructive notice of an heir who is not disclosed in a recorded affidavit under this section if an affidavit, judgment of heirship, or title transaction in the chain of title in the deed records identifies the heir of the decedent who is not disclosed in the affidavit as an heir of the decedent. An heir who is not disclosed in a recorded affidavit under this section may recover from an heir who receives consideration from a purchaser in a transfer for value of title to a homestead passing under the affidavit. (d) If the judge approves the affidavit under this section, the affidavit is to be recorded as an official public record under Chapter 194, Local Government Code. If the county has not adopted a microfilm or microphotographic process under Chapter 194, Local Government Code, the county clerk shall provide and keep in his office an appropriate book labeled "Small Estates," with an accurate index showing the name of the decedent and reference to land, if any, involved, in which he shall record every such affidavit so filed, upon being paid his legal recording fee.
This is filed with the county clerk in lieu of regular probate.You have to have the county judge or porbate judge of your county approve the affidaivt here.

Checklist to file..I use this myself to make sure I did it all..


The Affidavit form

Small Estate Affidavit Form - Tarrant County


Fair warning here you may have to retype this and add space if there are a lot of creditors as you state you are free to do so and add spaces where needed.



Thanks for letting me assist you today.Please let me know if you have more follow up.Thanks again.


And once this has been approved here by probate court the taxes should convert to your name only and the tax appraiser would pick up on the filing.





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RayAnswers and 3 other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Here is another great reference to help you.

Thanks again for letting me help you this morning.