Do my step father adult children have rights to the house due to his passing years ago. Is there a structure of limitations for any claim for step- siblings?

My mother and step farther bought a house together and they lived in it for 14 years before my step father passed away in 2004, my mother lived in the house for another 13 years before passing. My step dad had 5 adult children to whom we never meet because he had nothing to do with, and we still dont know to this day why he didnt. My mother had three adult children.
Yes, you know the story, here they come out of nowhere with their hand out. Maybe they do have a claim or maybe they dont. they werent around when their dad was here, I know it dont mater, but where were they when we put the roof on, repaired the fence, had to by new stove, repaint the walls and replace the carpet, you get the ideal. Dont seem fair to me they get of everything when they did nothing.
So, it has come to this
1.Neither one had a will.
2.My mother did not probate the house
3.We had to help with the upkeep and taxes of the house

Asked on December 26, 2017 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The answer to your question is "maybe".  The actual answer will depend on how your mom and stepdad purchased the house.  If the house was a joint purchase with "right of survivorship," then the house automatically passed to your mom upon your stepdad's passing.  A will was not required to make this happen.  If the house was not purchased with "right of survivorship", then they may have  claim to you their father's portion of the house.  However, this claim may be defeated by the fact that your mom continued to live in the house for another 13 years and basically "adversely possess" the house.  
What this means for you is that there are ways to push back a bit on their claims for a "piece of the estate."  To know for sure what their claims are and how to defeat their claims, I strongly suggest that you get a copy of the title to the house and take it to a probate attorney for their review.  You can get a copy of the title at the local county clerk's office.  


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