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Gerald, Esq
Gerald, Esq, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3914
Experience:  30 years of experience
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My mother died 4 years ago without a will. My sister and I

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My mother died 4 years ago without a will. My sister and I have asked my 86 year old stepdad to have a will drawn up. He insists on giving the house (which is paid for) to a deadbeat niece of ours and I tried to explain to him that in the state of Texas half of the house belongs to my mother's biological children (us). We do not want the home my mother worked so hard for to be left to our niece. What can we legally do to prevent this from happening after our stepdad passes?
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Texas
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Such as??
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No.

Hello,
Thank you for using Just Answer. Please bear with me while I review your question. I will respond fully shortly. Thank you for your patience.

Hello,

Thank you for your patience and thank you for using Just Answer. I want to provide you the best service I can. Please feel free to ask any follow-up questions you have.

I am an attorney with 30 years of experience; I hope to provide you information that will help you in resolving your question.

If the house is community property than you have a right to it at this time. So you have two choices:

1) Wait until your step father passes away and then contest any Will he made to the extent it affects your rights to the property

2) File a Petition to Partition the property now. A Partition action force him to either buy you out or sell the property and split the proceeds with you. During the course of this action you may be able to reach a settlement agreement where he continues to reside in the house but that title is revised to properly record your interest in it.

Here are some resources that you may wish to review:

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/ES/htm/ES.201.htm

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/intestate-succession-texas.html

http://www.supres.net/files/intestatetx.pdf

3) You may want to consult with a local probate attorney to assist you with this process. This link can help you find local counsel:

http://www.lawyers.com/wills-and-probate/texas/find-law-firms-by-city/

I hope the information I provide is useful to you. I want you to be comfortable and satisfied with my attempt to assist you. Please, if you have ANY follow-up questions, feel free to ask.

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Good luck.

Please note: Information is educational and not given as legal advice. Only your local attorney can give legal advice. I can't establish or accept an attorney-client relationship with you. All posts are available for public viewing.

Kind regards,

Gerald

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Thank you for responding. My stepdad has 3 estranged children as well. If he does not have a will drawn up then I assume his half of the property is theirs. What would we need to do in that case? Also, would our niece be able to remain in the house after he dies?

If he dies without a Will his children would be entitled to his 1/2 of the Community property. If he does do a Will the he can leave his 1/2 to whomever he wishes.

If he dies and the niece is in the house you will have to do the Partition action to force the sale to get you share of the proceeds. If he neice refuses to leave you may have to evict her.

In any case, you are probably looking at the Partition action.

See:

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PR/htm/PR.23.htm

http://www.lonestarlandlaw.com/Partitions-of-Texas.html

Kind regards,

Gerald

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Gerald, Esq and 3 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Thank you for your help!