This answer first appeared in the San Antonio Express News on March 30, 2018.
Dear Mr. Premack: I read with interest the article [March 23, 2018] about the lady who thought changing records at the Appraisal office would make her sole owner or her property. I did the same and I was thinking the same thing. My husband passed away six years ago without a Will. I have an Affidavit of Heirship filed with the Bexar County Real Estate Records. What does this Affidavit do for me? Do I still have to change the records with the County Clerk’s Office, do I have to probate, or is this only if I decide to sell my home? Thank you for your help – LH
Since your husband died without a Will, the filed Affidavit of Heirship would have invoked the provisions of the Texas Estates Code about passage of title. If the house was community property, and if you are the mother of all your husband’s children, then you received title under the intestacy laws which makes using an Affidavit of Heirship appropriate under your circumstances. When you hired an attorney to prepare the Affidavit of Heirship and filed it with the County Clerk’s office, you did change the real property records. If the Affidavit of Heirship was properly prepared, signed, and recorded it acts as evidence of the legal transfer of title to you without the need to go to probate court.
Paul Premack is a Certified Elder Law Attorney with offices in San Antonio and Seattle, handling Wills and Trusts, Probate, and Business Entity issues. View past legal columns or submit free questions on legal issues via www.TexasEstateandProbate.com or www.Premack.com.