19 May Are You Sure You’re Allowed to Sell Your House? Shelly Joyner, Associate Attorney
The housing market in DFW is HOT right now. My friend Shelley Nunley’s real estate blogs come through my email every week talking about increasing home prices and decreasing inventory. Exciting for homeowners, right?
Let’s say you’re reading this and thinking, “Well, my husband died 3 years ago, and I don’t need this big house. I could easily sell my house for a great price and move closer to friends and family.” Wonderful. That sounds like a great idea. Win/win/win.
What if you find a buyer willing to pay top dollar and then the night before closing, the title company tells you that you don’t have the right to sell the house? This recently happened to a (now) client of ours who was unable to complete the home sale.
We get calls like this almost every single week. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: under Texas law, your spouse’s assets do not automatically transfer to you when they die. We often have clients that come to us years and even decades after their spouse has passed because they’ve hit a wall in trying to sell a house. Most couples have joint bank and investment accounts that can sometimes be accessed after one spouse’s death, so it’s possible (rare but possible) that a spouse can go for years without officially settling the deceased spouse’s estate. However, title to real property is almost never passed without going through 1 of the 10-12 different types of probate.
Don’t let this happen to you. Don’t let an opportunity to take advantage of this a booming real estate market pass you by because you don’t have full ownership rights and can’t sell without going through a probate case.
Crain & Wooley is here to help you plan, in advance, for the distribution of all assets as well as assist in the probate process to clear title to assets as necessary. Contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation to learn more.