How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Attorney Wayne Your Own Question
Attorney Wayne
Attorney Wayne, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1506
Experience:  Practicing law since 2000.
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Attorney Wayne is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My mother passed away about 5 years ago and left an estate

This answer was rated:

My mother passed away about 5 years ago and left an estate on a home and contents. Her husband, not our father, stayed in the house until his death this year. There are 4 people on my mothers side and two on our stepfathers side that are airs to this estate. My question is about the estate on the sell of the house, it is under contract now, under Texas law is it divided 6 ways are half and half?
HiCustomer Just to understand, did your mother have a will, or did she die without a will? If there's a will, what does the will say?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Hi Wayne and thank you for the fast responce. The answer to your quistion is no she did not leave a will just a varble agreement with one of my brothers to be ex over her affairs after she passed.
Thanks. Sorry to pose another question, but it will help get you better information: did she own the house before she married the husband who survived her, or did they buy it together?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
She did not own the house before they married. She bought the house with cash, paid in full, from a class action law suit she was a part of.
Sorry, but this is a complicated. What was the nature of the class action? Was she injured? Or was it something else?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
It was the Fin-Fin litigation some years back and she had taken the drug and had some of the complications that was descripped in the suit.

A marital estate is divided into two parts: "community property" and "separate property"

Separate property consists of assets (or cash value of assets) owned before marriage,assets inherited individually during marriage or the value settlements from personal injury lawsuits (except that the part of the settlement given for lost wages, which lies in the community property category).

Community Property consists wages, and assets created by those wages during the marriage years (and the lost wages portion of a personal injury judgment).

Here's a link from the Texas Bar:

analysis here requires figuring out how the money from the Fen-Fen settlement is calculated: how much is for physical injury and how much is lost wages. That will determine how the house is divided, since she did not leave a will.

If the house is considered "community property" then you and your siblings divide half, and her husband's estate gets half.

If the house is considered separate property, then your mother's descendants get the whole house. This does not mean you and your siblings can't agree to split the cash value of the house with the husband's children, if you believe it is the right thing to do. You'll just need to draft some kind of agreement about it to keep it all straight for tax purposes.

Because this may require some research and analysis, it may be useful to hire a lawyer to figure out the legal category in which the house falls. This shouldn't be too expensive, but it is money well spent. Or, alternatively, if you and the husband's children can agree to a formula, the lawyer can put it all in a legal agreement.

The main thing is to avoid disputes which can lead to each side getting lawyers and wasting a lot money along the way.

I wish you and your family all the best as you seek resolution in this matter.

Attorney Wayne

PS Please click accept if this supplies the information you need. Also, feedback helps the experts -- so if you liked what you saw, I'd be grateful if you'd fill out the very short feedback form. Many thanks!
Attorney Wayne and 5 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you