My father passed away 50 years ago without a will. The only property was a piece of land here in Texas. I have taken care of that land since the time he died. I have paid the property taxes on the land and maintain the land. I do not live on the land, but no one disputes my claim to the land. I would like to have the title to the land changed to my name. Can I do this by filing an affidavit of adverse possession?
I have seen something also called an affidavit of heirship. I think this would also be a possibility I could use. However, my family lives all over the country and I don't maintain contact with all of them. I don't know how I would have all my family members sign over a deed to me when I cannot get in touch with them.
Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney
There are so many specific facts that go into answering your questions, it really is not practical to only seek advice on this forum. You need to hire an attorney that handles probate matters to advise you about your father's estate and your interest in the land and the interest of any other heirs.
Just because you have taken care of the land and paid taxes, that doesn't cut off any other legal heir who also has an interest in the land.
You may find it difficult to successfully assert an adverse possession if any other owners have consented to your maintaining the land and paying the taxes. Consent to your doing so negates any "adverseness" of your possession which is a required element of such a claim. Hard to say without knowing more (hence, that's why you need to hire your own attorney who can get into those details with you).
An affidavit of heirship may be needed if you are going to sell the property, but as you seem to realize, it does require ALL the heirs. You can't get around this requirement just because you find it difficult. In any of the ways that you might clear the title to the land, the other heirs will have to be officially notified (and in some cases formally served with process) so their interests can be recognized and dealt with.