Can You Sell an Inherited Property Without Probate in Dallas, TX?
Updated: May 18
Inheriting a property can be both a blessing and a burden, especially when it comes to selling an inherited house. The process of selling an inherited property can be complicated, especially when it involves probate, which is a legal process that involves the transfer of assets from a deceased person to their heirs. It’s a very time-consuming and costly process. Fortunately, in the Dallas, Texas area, there are ways to sell an inherited house without going through probate.
A will in Dallas, Texas, and all over Texas is only valid if probated. So, what happens if you don’t want to spend the money or lengthy time in court to have a will probated? What if there is no will to probate?
Texas law provides for the distribution of a person's property in the event that they die without a will, a process known as intestacy. In this situation, the law outlines who will inherit the deceased's property and in what manner. Understanding these laws is important for anyone who wants to ensure their property is distributed according to their wishes.
The first step in determining who will inherit under Texas intestacy laws is to identify the decedent's closest relatives. Texas law provides a specific order of priority, starting with the decedent's surviving spouse and children, and then moving on to other family members, including grandparents, siblings, aunts, and uncles. If there are no living relatives, the property will pass to the state.
If the deceased is survived by a spouse, the surviving spouse will inherit all of the deceased's community property, which is property acquired during the marriage. Additionally, the surviving spouse will also inherit one-third of the deceased's separate property, which is property acquired before the marriage or by gift or inheritance. The remaining two-thirds of the deceased's separate property will be distributed to any surviving children.
If the deceased is survived by children, but not by a spouse, the children will inherit the deceased's entire estate. If there is more than one child, the estate will be divided equally among them.
If the deceased is not survived by a spouse or children, the estate will be distributed to the deceased's surviving parents. If only one parent survives, that parent will inherit the entire estate. If both parents are deceased, the estate will be distributed to the deceased's siblings or their descendants. If there are no surviving siblings or their descendants, the estate will pass to the deceased's grandparents or their descendants. If there are no surviving grandparents or their descendants, the estate will be distributed to the deceased's aunts and uncles or their descendants.
It's worth noting that under Texas law, half-siblings, step-siblings, and adopted siblings are treated the same as full siblings for the purposes of intestate succession.
In addition to these general rules, there are some special circumstances that may affect the distribution of a person's property under Texas intestacy laws. For example, if a child was born after the decedent's death, that child will still be entitled to inherit, as long as they can establish that they were conceived before the decedent's death.
Another special circumstance to consider is if the decedent was a member of the military at the time of their death. In this situation, the distribution of the deceased's property may be subject to additional rules and requirements under federal law.
It's also important to note that if a person dies with a will, the terms of that will control the distribution of their property, regardless of the rules of intestacy, but only if the will has been probated. However, if a will is found to be invalid or if the decedent did not leave a valid will, Texas intestacy laws will govern the distribution of the estate.
Once the proper heirs have been determined through the rules of intestacy, the property can be transferred through an affidavit of heirship.
This document is a legal declaration that outlines the relationships between the deceased person, the inheritor, and the property.
The Affidavit of Heirship must be signed by all the heirs and filed with the Dallas County clerk or county where the property is located. Once the document is filed, the property can be sold without probate.
Another way to sell an inherited property in the Dallas, Texas area without probate is through a Transfer on Death Deed (TODD).
A TODD is a special type of deed that allows a person to transfer ownership of a property after they pass away without going through probate. The transfer occurs automatically upon the death of the owner, and the property passes directly to the named beneficiaries.
The third way to sell an inherited property without probate is through a life estate.
A life estate is a legal arrangement that allows a person to transfer ownership of a property to their heirs while retaining the right to live in the property until they pass away. In the Dallas, Texas area, a life estate can be established through a will or a trust, and the property can be sold without probate.
In conclusion, selling an inherited property in the Dallas, Texas area without probate is possible through an Affidavit of Heirship, a Transfer on Death Deed, or a Life Estate. While these options may not be right for everyone, they are worth considering if you are looking to avoid the time, expense, and hassle of probate.