Aunt passed and left home, no will. Three siblings still alive, two want to keep the property, one does not, what can they do?

Asked almost 3 years ago - Wichita Falls, TX

My aunt passed two years ago in Texas. There are three siblings alive. My father and one of his sisters wants to keep the home my aunt left. The other sister is just "sitting on it". The house and property aren't worth much (more sentimental value), but my father has been taking care of the house for the past 2 years. Is there anything he and his agreeable sister can do to just go over the other sisters' head, and just put the deed in his name, so that it won't be sold? Also, there are taxes owed, and he wants to move on it before the County takes the home.

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Robert Keith Morris III

    Pro

    Contributor Level 6

    Answered . Unfortunately no, the property is likely not divisible so if the disagreeable sister pushes the issue and hires an attorney that knows what they are doing she could file suit to partition or sell the property. The best chance is to see if your father can buy out the other sister.

  2. James Brian Thomas

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . Purchasing the disagreeable sister's interest is likely the best way to go here. Unfortunately, issues like this come up rather frequently when dealing with real property and the absence of a Will.

    This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted to practice law in the State of Texas only, and make... more
  3. David Grant Voeller

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . Your father can seek to have the estate probated. Once the probate is complete, each of the siblings will likely own an undivided 1/3 share. At that point, your father and sister can seek a partition of the estate where the court divides the property into separate shares. In your situation a judge may order that the property be sold and the proceeds divided, or that you and your sister buy out your other sister's share.

    One thing to be aware of, is that right now, your dad and siblings probably don't have legal ownership of the property. When someone dies, real property doesn't automatically pass to the heirs. Your dad will most likely have to go through a probate proceeding to get the title transferred in the first place. Your dad and siblings don't have the legal authority to transfer the property by deed, and if they try, it will only cloud the title.

    Have your dad and aunts get an attorney to help them work out the situation and take care of the potential probate to make sure everything gets done legally.

  4. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Consider buying sister out.

    Click on name or picture to see profile page.
  5. Joseph Scheideler

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . Always fun when there is no will. One of them has to administrate the estate. If it is determined that all three have an equal share, which is probably the case, then they would have to take it to the probate court and have the judge decide after hearing evidence, unless they can finally agree to take it to a vote.

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