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My mother passed away in 2003, she had 7 biological

Customer Question
My mother passed away...

My mother passed away in 2003, she had 7 biological children, 2 of them preceded her in death. She did not have a will. My younger brother moved into my mother's house where it was agreed that if he paid the taxes he could live there. My belief is that she wanted the house to be a family home because she always wanted her children & grandchildren to have a place to be able to call home. My brother convinced my siblings to sign their part of ownership over to him. I choose not to sell my part. He is now suing me stating that the home is rightfully his because he's stayed there since 2003 and everyone signed their ownership in the home over to him. His attorney is stating in the citation that the judge should give my part to him & I should pay all court cost. What are my rights?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

Texas

Lawyer's Assistant: Has any paperwork been filed?

On his behalf, yes

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

No, that's it.

Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Estate Law
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
9/19/2017
Estate Lawyer: Barrister, Attorney replied 8 months ago
Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 41,571
Experience: 17 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
Verified

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help with your situation. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I type out an answer or reply.

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You may also be offered a phone call, but those don’t come from me and are offered by JustAnswer. If you have requested a phone call with an attorney, your request will post to other experts that do offer this service. When another attorney accepts your request you will get additional instructions.

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Did anyone ever file a formal probate case to settle the estate and transfer the house deed in to the 7 children's names?

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Did he have permission from everyone to live there?

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thanks

Barrister

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
No one ever filed a formal probate.
Nothing was ever put in writing. He just moved into the house after my mother died. My other brother, myself, and two other sisters had our own homes. We didn't have an issue with him staying in the house after my mom's death. My mother's home was not paid for. I paid it off, not because I wanted it, but so it would not be foreclosed on but kept in the family as my mother wanted. The brother who is claiming the house should be his, is a bully. He assaulted my older brother and none of the others wanted him bothering them, so they all signed their part over to him. I refused to.
Estate Lawyer: Barrister, Attorney replied 8 months ago

Ok. that kind of presents a problem because if no one ever settled mother's estate, the house is still in her name and legally your brother could try and claim the house under the legal doctrine of "adverse possession" which states basically that if someone trespasses on another person's property for 10 years, then they can claim legal ownership of it.

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Since no one filed a probate case, there was no one who had legal authority to give brother permission to live there, so technically he was a trespasser.

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With that said, you could fight against the case and argue that all the heirs allowed him to live there, so it isn't "adverse" use that would allow him to claim it. But you would have to hire an attorney for several thousand dollars to defend and it may not be worth it if your share of the house isn't worth that much..

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But the judge shouldn't hold you liable for his attorney fees..

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thanks

Barrister

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
My son paid over two thousand dollars to pay back taxes and this was less than 10 years ago.
It's not as if no one cared about the house. My son paid taxes on my behalf because my brother hadn't paid the taxes.
Estate Lawyer: Barrister, Attorney replied 8 months ago

I hate to hear that but it is the actual use and possession of the property that counts... Legally what son did was make a gift of that money to the estate, which owned the house since mother's estate was never settled..

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I am sorry that they news isn't better, but things get complicated if no action is taken for a decade or longer..

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Estate Lawyer: Barrister, Attorney replied 8 months ago

Hello again,

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I just wanted to touch base with you and check in.

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Did you have any further questions I can help with?

.

.

Thanks much

Barrister

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Category: Estate Law
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