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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014

    Default How to Transfer Property Deed Without Probate in Texas

    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: Texas

    My mother has been living on her fathers property since he passed away in 1977. There was no will left when he died. She has been the sole person to pay taxes on the property since 1978. She is thinking of selling the property but the deed is still in her fathers name. She does have 2 brothers as well that have not shown interest in the property but would be very difficult to locate if probate court was needed. The overall value of the property is not that great, I believe its only around 10k. So paying a probate lawyer is pretty much out of the question since there would be little financial gain after the fees. Is there a way to proceed without probate? Does it make a difference that she has paid the taxes since 1978? Thanks in advance for the replies.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: Transfer Property Deed in Texas Without Probate

    without probate, or at least what is called a small estate administration (often not available when there is real estate involved but I have not checked for Texas), there is no mechanism to transfer the property to anybody. Somebody has to create a deed for the transfer.

    Additionally, without the probate or administration, there is no way to determine who should receive the property.

    The only possibility I can think of is making a claim under adverse possession. Given the time she has been there that part would likely have been met. The other issue is establishing adverse possession. Again, have not checked Texas but in some states, you cannot AP against an estate since there is no actual person that would normally be available to attempt to remove a trespasser from the property. Also, since she is an heir, it could be determined that her possession was not adverse since she is a presumtive owner of the property.

    One problem with that is; it costs money to file a suit to quiet title (the action used to gain title to a property through adverse possession). It may cost her as much or more than the property is worth to do this.

    Sorry I cannot be more specific. I would suggest a talk with a Texas lawyer that has a much better grasp on Texas law than I.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: How to Transfer Property Deed Without Probate in Texas

    Texas has statutes that provide for an heirship declaration to effect the transfer of property that was not probated. See Texas Estates Code, Chapter 202, sec. 202.001 et seq. It does require a simple court proceeding. I won't promise that the option is available under the full facts of your case, but if it is it looks like the cheapest and easiest path forward.

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