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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 102145
Experience:  Qualified attorney in private practice including business, family, criminal, and real estate issues.
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I am executor in my father's estate and currently own 50% of

Customer Question

I am executor in my father's estate and currently own 50% of the home that my step-mother lives in. I know that she has survivor rights to stay in the home until she dies or wants to sell the home. She is no longer making tax payments on the property. My question is - am I (or my father's estate) still responsible for paying taxes on the property after my father's death and for as long as she lives in the house?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note:This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

1) Did your father have a Will? If so, did it give her a life estate in the property?

2) Was her name on the property when he passed away? If so, did the buy it together or was her name added later?

3) Was probate ever filed for your father's estate?

4) Whose name is ***** ***** title of the property now?

This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
1. Yes he had a will. The will did NOT give her life estate in the property. However, I was told that the state of Texas has "survivor rights" so that she may choose to live in the house and cannot be forced to sell the home.
2. Her name is ***** ***** property. They bought the property together.
3. Yes, I probated the will.
4. I do not know who's name is ***** ***** title. She removed my father's name from the "property tax" office so if you look up the house through property taxes, it only shows her name. However, my probate attorney filed an "Executor's Deed" with the county on the property, so if you search for records on the property, it notes that my father's interest on the house has passed to his heirs. My father did not sign the house over to her.Some additional information is that the house is paid for in full; the only lien on the house currently appears to be back taxes.Thank you for your assistance with this question.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your reply. I am currently in transit, and shall be able to reply first thing tomorrow. My apologies for the wait. If you want me to opt out now, so this will be open to other experts who may be able to answer faster, please reply and let me know.

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your reply.

In Texas, the surviving spouse can take half of the community property of the estate if her spouse passes away. This is true.

However, this is overridden by joint tenants. If they purchased the property together, while married, they were likely joint tenants with right of survivorship. See HERE. As such, his interest was automatically inherited by HER upon his passing, and this is why the title only shows her name. She seems to own it outright - 100%.

As such, she is responsible for the payment on taxes, not the estate or the Executor/Administrator. If she does not pay it, the county can eventually sell the home at a tax deed sale.

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