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Please help with my nightmare and here is the quick run down. i just don't know what to do. this is in the state of Texas My mom married a widower and they have both passed away. mom been gone for 3 years and he has been gone for about 5 years My Step Dad had previously married a lady that had 5 kids in a previous marriage. She died in the late 80's. When my Mom died i probated his and her will. He left everything to her and she left everything to me. When i tried to sell the house, the attorney said there are 5 other 50% owners. the community property laws then apparently gave everything to the children and not the spouse. Her kids got 50% of the house and the step Dad got 50% of the house. Sad because he bought and paid for it with his oklahoma loan. Now the tax office because of the probabted will on record think I am the 100% owner and want all the taxes due from me and not the other 5. See the nightmare. I was told by the attorney that he contacted some of them and they didn't want to sell the house and it could just rott. My apparent only way out was to petiton the court to do a force sale and take whatever I got. House is not worth much. say 30-35k. Sad part was the real estate attorney that did the search wouldn't take the case and my family lawyer wouldn't touch it either. Help Me Please!!!!!!!!!
Sorry this is complicated to explain.I understand what you said but that is not what the attorneys told me. you are correct that step dad left everything to my Mom in will and her will left everything to me. i received the property in suscession of the prbabiting of the wills. I was going to do a quick cash sale of the house because i live out of town. The agents real estate attorney who did the title search after the inspection brought up the 5 kids and that they owned 50% of the house. My family lawyer who did the probating of the wills and the real estate lawyer both said that I have an undivided interest in the property. I would either have to get them to sign off or do a force sale. The real estate attorney said the 5 would not cooperate. i am not sure about the trumping part as at the time the lawyer said when the 5 kids mother who was married to my step dad first, died, the community property laws at the time gave everything to children not the spouse as it is today.
Continued- TEXAS short story- man and woman marry woman has 5 kids from previous marriage woman dies while still married with no will and community property law at time in the 80's gives her half of the property to 5 kids not surviving spouse. man later marries my mom man dies- wills everything to my mom my mom dies and wills everything to me. i probate both mans and moms wills with high hopes of getting house that was paid for. i try to do cash sale of house and real estate attorney said that their are 5 others who own half of house. he contacted people and they where uncoperative. says must pursue force sale and only attorneys get money. talk to family lawyer who probabted wills and he agrees. tax office because of wills say i am 100% owner and owe all taxes. I have no idea what to do. i just want to protect my credit and not fork over lots of money i dont have. basically i got screwed trying to do what was right. could have not probated anything and let it all go.
I believe I understand what you are saying and both my attorney who probated the wills of the step father and my mother and the real estate attorney who did the title search (Suppossedly) said the same thing. When the first wife died, her 50% ownership of the house went entirely to here 5 kids from the previous marriage. He kept his original 50% of the house. I am glad you mentioned the succession laws and I will reasearch some more. So from what I am told there are 5 people who each own 10% and I have 50%. undivided interest. the first article I think says the same thing. thats the problem. the tax office just went by the will and says I am 100% and owe taxes whereas in fact I only own half. I contacted AFX titlesearch and am having the entire property title searched. Least then i can give something to the tax offic attorneys.
I guess the question is then how do i prove or disprove joint ownership with right of surviviorship. i contacted a national title search company to see what they come up with. They stated they could pove exactly who owned the property. I am going on what the real estate attorney said when I tried to sell the house shortly after probate. When he ran the title search for the insurance to sell he found there were 5 others and told me I had to have them sign off on selling the house. the only problem is he wouldn't give me their names other than the last name. he said they refused and the place could sit and rott as far as they cared. He said I could petition the court to do a force sale of the property because of undivided interest. My attorney who probated the wills agreed with him. What makes me mad as I told the my attorney before probate the house was the only thing of value. if I can't get it then it is not worth the time and money. He said there should be no problem.
But there was a problem apparently. To me the title search should have been done before probate by my attorney but I did not think of it until later. He said after that there was no way for him to have known and told me I would be better off letting it go back for taxes and sold at tax auction since the other 5 would not sell or buy my half interest. I tried to get both attorneys to send the letters and do a force sale two years ago but neither one would accept the task. What the real estate attorney said he didn't know why they didn't want to sell and that when the force sale was done and attorney fees, court costs and sale fees that no one would get any money. Figuritively speaking as the house is only worth about 30k and the force sale would be for about a cash price of maybe half that. If I had know about the other 5 I would never have probated the wills and got involved. I am out 5 grand in back taxes and attorney fees and I can't legally do anything with the property.
I appreciate your assistance. It has weighed on me heavyily. I tried to do some good for my current family. I probabted both wills, paid the back taxes and then when I tried to sell it was oooops sorry. I just wish I would have known and think my attorney should have told me when I said the house is the only thing of value. If I dont get that then it is not worth the money. He should have told me to do a title search then to verify that the step dad had clear title then told me. I am waiting still for the title search to be completed. I know the house was purchased under his oklahoma loan and i saw the paper saying the loan had been fulfilled with his name on it. Haven't seen a deed. the county tax attorney took it off the docket and said that depending on when the step dads first wife passed could affect the title sucsession. I dunno realy. I am a computer dweeb.
You definitely need an attorney to straighten it all out. If you can't get one to handle the case, as executor of your mom's estate, you can petition the court for "directives" (the judge will tell you what to do or assign you an attorney to assist). If you are confused as to ownership, I can try to clarify: When wife #1 died without a will, the problem started. Most people just assume that when 1 spouse dies, everything automatically goes to the other. However, that is NOT true when there is issue (children). Intestate Succession Statutes determine who gets what & in what percentage (varies by state). Had they owned the home JOINTLY with right of survivorship, then the house would have gone to stepdad. Clearly that wasn't the case, so stepdad got 50% of the house & the kids got the other 50%. When stepdad married your mom, he had NO legal standing to will her the entire house because it was not his to give. He gave her his 50%; which now came down to you. You said that you had to do a forced sale. I don't understand where you got the idea that only the attorneys get paid. The 5 children are entitled to their share of the sale profits as well. With the proceeds of the property sale, you (as the executor) will pay the taxes, fees, and attorneys. Whatever is left, if any, will then be disbursed to the 6 of you in the percentages established (50%, 10% x5). So, pay all the taxes & fees first (don't forget to collect your fee as the executor) and THEN disburse the funds. Also, you mentioned that everything went to the children & not the spouse "as it is today". Just so you know, Intestate Succession Statutes "today" STILL don't give everything to the spouse. If you own property & are married, you have to be sure that that property is held in "joint tenancy". Otherwise, if there are children, 50% will go to spouse & 50% will go to children (regardless of their age). In my state, when a spouse dies intestate (no will), the spouse receives $25,000 worth of the assets & then ALL other property, including personal property, is divided up 50% to spouse & 50% to kids. That's why people really have to make wills. Best of Luck! ******* Response Unfortunately you are correct in assuming that there will be little or zero proceeds from the liquidation of this house. Due to very poor estate planning and/or lack of attorney involvement when your stepdad first passed, the opportunities to sort through the ownership transfers have passed (now that Mom is gone). The reason you can't get the attorneys to help you now is, frankly, because there will be no profit involved. The attorney will have to do a lot of confusing & time consuming work only to get you a result that most likely you will not be happy with. In these instances, attorneys tend to have difficulty collecting the monies owed from these clients and also they would have a dissatified client (who paid lawyers fees & got nothing). Attorneys would just assume steer clear of these types of cases in order to protect not only their wallets but also their reputation. A title search company is a great option for you, but it also costs money. Another option you can try is to attempt to locate the original mortgage for the property (closing papers). In my state, the type of ownership (joint tenancy, tenancy in common, fee simple, etc.) is listed right on the document itself. If your stepdad & mom kept good records, this would be something that they would have kept. Otherwise, you can contact the bank that held the mortgage & see if perhaps they might still have those records. You can also try the registry of deeds yourself. The problem there is that in some states the "co-owners" may be listed but the type of ownership may not be. Honestly, from the information given, it appears that the Intestate Succession Statutes took effect when stepdad's 1st wife passed. Whatever he "willed" away after that, would have no bearing. Those 5 kids would still own their share. If that proves to be the case & due to the little value of the house, the attorney that suggested that you just let it go to taxes may in fact be right. I feel your pain & I wish you the best. Also, my sympathy in the loss of your mom.
Your details are confusing. Step Dad had a will that left everything to your Mom. Find a lawyer or some free legal consult to help you change the home ownership. The Will trumps community property. If you had completed probate on his estate then the legal records would have been changed. Was the real estate lawyer involved before you attempted to sell the house? Probably not. When your Mom's estate went into probate there were records that should have changed again from her Will. Did the family lawyer probate these Wills? If yes, then go back and demand that they do the work they should have. Somethings were missed if you tried to do this on your own. It is not a huge dilemma. Maybe you were really upset when you spoke to the family lawyer and need to return calm. You can contact the 5 people who will be listed on the title. You could ask each of them to complete a quit claim deed turning the property over to you since they didn't want the house.
Whose attorney told you what? You should listen to yours. I am not an attorney nor in Texas (California, a community property state) and with your additions, your story starts to make sense. Make sure I have filled in the blanks right. Prior to your mother entering the picture, your stepfather marries a woman who had five children from an earlier marriage. Stepfather and previous wife are buying a home as community property (alternative, same facts but the house is in joint tenancy, The differences are subtle but important) Previous wife dies without a will. At this time laws concerning intestate succession (this where the state writes a will for you) kick in. This will divide the previous wife's COMMUNITY PROPERTY interest and separate property however Texas law provides--this could be all to surviving husband, half to surviving husband, half to children in equal shares or some other percentage but in any case I would expect the surviving husband to get at least half. If the property was held as JOINT TENANTS, it is entirely different and everything passes to the survivor--your stepfather--automatically by operation of law. Other heirs are not an issue and community property or intestate succession laws do not apply. Stepfather marries your mother and is owner of either (probably) 75% or 100% of the property depending on if he and previous wife owned the house as community property or joint tenants. Stepfather dies, leaves everything of his to your mother. The question here is "What is everything?" Mother dies, leaves everything to you. Conclusion: If your stepfather and previous wife owned the house as joint tenants, it became all his when previous wife died and he could will it all to your mother who could will it all to you. If your stepfather and previous wife owned the house as community proprety, her heirs other than your stepfather are entitled (in equal shares) to the percentage of the previous wife's interest that Texas intestate succession laws give to heirs other than a surviving spouse. The decree of distribution from your stepfathers probate case should state how the property is to be distributed. Check it out.
They certainly not have got to pay and it's going to be bought at sheriff sale and the taxes will probably be deducted from the proceeds. If any individual or else needs to shop for it, all nine will have got to signal the income contract and the taxes will probably be deducted from the proceeds. In quick, the taxes will probably be paid if the estate brings ample to hide them.