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My husband passed away from MS in 2010 - intestate. Only property our home. Do I need probate to sell?

Lewisville, TX |

We had no joint savings or credit. Had a large tax lien - I have paid it off. I have an offer to buy the house. Can I sell it with my signature and a death certificate?

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Attorney answers 8


Unfortunately you will not be able to sell it without some sort of probate procedure. There are various forms. Contact a probate attorney today. Make sure you ask if an affidavit of heirship is a possible solution.

Kendall Cockrell is an attorney with The Cockrell Law Firm in Beaumont, Texas. None of the opinions he states on this site constitute an attorney-client relationship. For more information, contact The Cockrell Law Firm. Contact information available on Kendall Cockrell's profile on this site.


How was the property titled - in his name alone, or in both names as tenants by the entirety or joint tenants? It may be that the title vested in you as a matter of law. Contact a probate attorney to guide you through what needs to be done.

The foregoing is for general information purposes and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


You will need a probate order to sell the property.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.


You may qualify for a small estate affidavit. You should hire a lawyer to make sure the title passes properly and is duly recorded.

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Most likely yes. Talk to the title company you are going to use as well.

This answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. Consult my office for a confidential consultation. Leslie Barrows, The Barrows Firm, P.C. looks forward to protecting your rights!


Most title companies will require some sort of probate documentation before they will issue title insurance. Depending on the circumstances, you may or may not be required to do a probate administration. You should ask your title company if they will accept an affidavit of heirship.


You may or may not need to probate; it mostly depends on what the title company will accept. Your signature and a death certificate would likely only work if the house was titled as "Joint tenants with right of survivorship" or "JTWROS".

You may be able to do an affidavit of heirship or a small estate affidavit, (these are cheaper and faster) but you definitely need to meet with a probate attorney to asses these options. It depends on the total value of his estate, what kind of assets, and what kind and amount of any remaining debts, and who your husband's heirs are. (If he had kids from an earlier marriage this can greatly complicate things)

If either of those don't work, you are looking at a proceeding to determine heirship + either a dependent or independent administration.

You need to schedule an initial consult with a probate lawyer to discuss your options.

Disclaimer: This post does not create an attorney-client relationship. This post is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. This post is not a substitute for holding an in-person initial consult with an attorney.


We need to know how the property was titled. If as joint tenants with right of survivorship, his interest passed to you automatically. If not, probate of the will or some manner of probate alternative will be appropriate. An attorney can review the deed and other relevant facts and help you determine the best course of action.

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