Do I have a chance of getting my mom’s house?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Do I have a chance of getting my mom’s house?

She passed away a little over a year ago. She didn’t leave a Will and the title to the house and land are in her name. She has been with her boyfriend for 32 years and they shared the same last name because he is my cousin from my dad’s side of the family. In the last income tax return that they did, she hardly worked because she was getting sick so her boyfriend wanted to claim her. She asked the tax lady if it was possible for her boyfriend to claim her if they weren’t married. The tax lady said yes and put them as married without my mom’s consent and we didn’t find out until we were trying to apply medical help for an unmarried woman only to find out the tax lady had put she was married. We were told that there was no way to correct this. Well the boyfriend is the co-signer to the mortgage because they took one out since their son needed medical help. The first mortgage was taken because his family needed legal help. She had owned the land and house before she met her boyfriend. The land and house belonged to my grandmother who sold it to my mom for $5. My younger sister was the one that paid for 80% of the cremation cost. As of now, my sisters and I aren’t ready to take this to court but what is our timeframe before it becomes null? Is there anything we should be doing? I know that TX has common law marriage and they share 2 sons together but would the same

apply if the boyfriend is related to me and my sisters but not my mom?

Asked on November 27, 2018 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

In Texas, a common law marriage is formed when a couple "represents" themselves as married--acts as if they are married, holds themselves out as married, etc. Being together for 32 years and putting themselves down as married on a tax return is likely enough to establish a common law marriage.
Once formed, a common law marriage is treated the same as any other marriage--including for inheritance purposes. When there is no will, a person's "estate" (what they leave behind when they pass away) is distributed by "intestate succession": the rules for who gets what when there is no will. In your state, that means that he inherits a 1/3 interest in anything (including the home) which she owned premarriage and gets the right live in the home for the rest of his life (or until he voluntarily moves out); you inherit the other 2/3 of her "separate" (pre-marriage) property. Also, he keeps his 1/2 interest in their "community property"--anything acquired during the time they were married--while you get her 1/2 interest in the community (marital) property. In short, you (and by "you," I mean you and any siblings of yours) and he will end up jointly or co-owing everything she owned. Consult with a probate attorney to better understand exactly how all her assets are divided and the effect of  his right to use/live in the home for life (a "life estate")--and also his obligations to keep up the home.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption