Selling an inherited house without a Will is a tough problem for many Texans. Settling an estate is much easier if you have a will as it outlines the deceased’s wishes for his or her possessions after death. But too often the deceased leaves their loved ones without this important legal document. This is referred to as dying intestate.
If you owned the house together with the person who passed away, your deed may have specified that you both owned the home as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. This means that when one of the owners dies, the surviving partner automatically becomes the full owner. This type of arrangement leaves little confusion as to rightful ownership following a death, unless other family members challenge the survivor’s ownership in court.
If, on the other hand, you and the deceased didn’t own the property as joint tenants, you will likely have to resolve any questions of ownership before you can sell the inherited house. Unfortunately, a verbal or previous conversation you may have had with the now deceased party is not enough to stand on its own.
Like other states, Texas has its own required course of action to properly inherit and sell a house. This process can be complicated and time consuming. However, unless you plan to keep the home, there are advantages to selling it as quickly as possible.
Advantages of Selling an Inherited House Quickly
If ownership of the property is contested or there are disagreements among family members, settling the matter without undue delay is important. You will want to resolve the issue of ownership and sell the home as soon as possible while still making sure to abide by the law.
If no one is living in the home, it could be more difficult to insure and protect. You could be held liable if someone is hurt on the property, or risk damage or theft if the vacant house is vandalized or burglarized. Some insurers will issue a vacant home insurance policy to help shield you from liability as well as insure the property in case of vandalism, theft, fire, flooding, or other issues.
A home can also start to deteriorate when it’s left unoccupied, particularly if it’s not checked on frequently. This will make it harder to find a buyer down the road.
The longer the home remains unsold, the greater your potential property tax liability. That’s because most Texas homeowners take a homestead exemption to lower property taxes on their primary residences. In the event of the homeowner’s death, however, this discount no longer applies and you may have to pay additional taxes for the time period between your loved one’s passing and the sale of the home.
Obtaining An Affidavit Of Heirship
If the home wasn’t owned jointly under rights of survivorship, you must provide an Affidavit of Heirship to sell the property. This sworn statement is designed to name the heirs and establish ownership of the property.
If, for example, a spouse dies without a Will and leaves behind only real estate, an Affidavit of Heirship may allow the surviving spouse to sell the real estate without having to seek court assistance or administration. Texas requires this affidavit to be completed a third party who will not financially benefit from the estate of the deceased.
Getting the Information You Need
First and foremost, you’ll need a copy of the deceased’s death certificate. You may also need to do some research on the deceased’s family history. Make sure you prove that no one else has the right to lay claim to the house you inherited. Essentially, you’ll need a detailed family tree.
If you don’t have this information, talk to other family members and review records such as a family Bible, which sometimes includes a section where families fill out genealogy information. Check for any public records regarding marriages and divorces, because the deceased’s family tree may be more complicated than you realize.
The time to make any discoveries of unknown relatives is now, not after you sell the house and an unknown sibling or other relative suddenly challenges your ownership rights.
Who Fills Out the Affidavit of Heirship?
The person who fills out the Affidavit of Heirship needs familiarity with the family and marital history of the deceased. This person will also have to provide information including the following:
- Marital history of the deceased
- Information about any children, including name and address, date of birth, and the name of the other parent
- Information about grandchildren, brothers and sisters, and nieces and nephews
The person must sign the affidavit in front of a notary public who then notarizes the document. This certified affidavit must be filed with the county clerk in the county where the inherited house is located. Proper filing of the document will generally satisfy the title company’s requirements.
Conducting A Title Search
Conduct a title search at the county records office and make sure no liens or foreclosures exist against the property. If you don’t live near the county in which the property is located, you can also search online. Satisfy all liens and debts before selling the property.
Completing The Deed To Transfer Title
Next, you complete the deed to transfer title to the heirs. The deed should state that the listed owners are heirs at law of the deceased. This simply means that the persons listed have rights for the property of the deceased. All heirs should sign the deed and have their signatures notarized.
Get The Help You Need to Sell an Inherited House Without a Will
As you can see, selling an inherited house without a Will in Texas is a complex process that can be confusing and intimidating. You can get help from an attorney, but that’s an expensive process.
Why not let a company who specializes in buying properties without a Will assist you? Big State Home Buyers can facilitate the entire process and get you to the closing table as quickly and smoothly as possible.
For instance, if an affidavit of heirship is required, we collect information from the seller, add it to the heirship questionnaire form, and then deliver to the title company so they can begin the process of reviewing and drafting the affidavit. We maintain constant checks and provide any additional research or information they may require.
If a judgment or lien is discovered when the title is being processed, our in-house file processing team research to confirm or deny whether it is valid. A lawyer can also guide you through how to handle judgements and liens against an inherited property.
If you want to sell an inherited house with multiple heirs, we offer solutions. If there are heirs to the property you are unable to locate, our file processing team will work to locate the missing heirs and get everyone needed to complete the sale together.
Big State Home Buyers has the experience and knowledge to help you sell your inherited house quickly. We treat our clients with respect and genuine concern, without high-pressure tactics. Contact Big State Home Buyers now for a free consultation with no obligation.