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 P. Simmons Your Own Question
P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 35016
Experience:  12+ yrs. of experience including real estate law.
Type Your Real Estate Law Question Here...
P. Simmons is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

State of TX. A friend died 2 yrs.ago. no survivors. He had

Customer Question

State of TX. A friend died 2 yrs.ago. no survivors. He had a house totally paid for and no will. Can a person pay back taxes and get a deed on it?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.
That depends...that is, it depends on several circumstances. Tell me, if you know, in whose name is ***** ***** currently? Did this friends estate go through probate?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It's. In his name. No probate.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 2 years ago.
Who is in the home now? Anyone?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No one, empty.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Are you there
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 2 years ago.
Thank you
There are a couple of issues here
First, if the title is in his name, and he had no will, then to transfer title the first step would be to go through probate. Under TX law, if a person dies with no will the state of TX determines "who gets what". If this person left ANY relatives (including cousins or aunts/uncles or nieces/nephews) they would stand to inherit from the estate.
IF there are NO relatives? Then the property passes, by law, to the state of TX.
For this reason you can not simply go and pay taxes and take over the property.
That said, there IS a process one could use to take title to the property, that does involve paying taxes.
This is called "adverse possession"
TX law (Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.026 ) provides that if a person takes possession of real property, lives in the property or uses the property regularly, against the will of the owner? They can then claim title.
So if you move into the property and 10 years pass without someone filing an eviction charge or trespassing charge? Then you can claim title.
There is a process that allows one to claim title in a shorter period (3 or 5 years) that involves paying taxes, but this requires "colorable title"...basically, you need a deed that purports to be valid to meet the requirements of this law. If you do not have title, or a document that purports to be title? You can not use the shorter time period
the other option is to wait for the state to take possession and sell the property for the taxes owed on it. Btu you would have to make this purchase at a public auction. There is not a way for the state to sell to an individual outside of a public auction.
Please let me know if you have more questions. I am happy to help if I can. Otherwise, please rate the answer so I may get credit for my work.