What happens if my ex-husband died and didn’t leave a Will?

He wanted our daughter to have everything. When we divorced we took my name off the house but not off the mortgage. How do I go about getting the house and his truck in her name? We want to sell the house and pay off what’s owed so she can get something to live in.

Asked on June 19, 2016 under Estate Planning, Texas


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You need to visit with a probate attorney in the county and state where he passed away... because that jurisdiction's rules will control.  In Texas, certain estates of a certain value are required to be submitted to probate.  This is where the court decides how everything is to be divided and handled.  Even though you are no longer a spouse, you still have an interest in participating in the probate because of the mortgage in your name.  You can ask the court to order the house sold and the proceeds distributed as you suggest.
If the value of the house is not very much, you may be able to avoid probate with what is called an affidavit of heirship.  These are really the easiest documents used for simple estate matters.... however, many mortgage companies will want a court order before they do anything with accounts...which may send you to probate court.
After you visit with a probate attorney, they can help you assess whether or not probation or affidavit of heirship is the best method for your ex-husband's estate.

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