What should I do legally after my father dies leaving me as heir to his home?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What should I do legally after my father dies leaving me as heir to his home?

My father recently made a will with an attorney naming me the executor and only
heir to his house in Texas, which is still being mortgaged. My mother passed away
years ago. I have two siblings that are in agreement with the will and my
father’s wishes. Is there something I can do legally now to ensure the probate
process is fast and smooth upon his death? What about the deed and the mortgage?
Is there something I will have to file in order to change them into my name? I
havn’t a clue as what to do upon his passing away someday.

Asked on May 22, 2016 under Estate Planning, Texas


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You may not need to do much except file what are called affidavits of heirships.  These are basically documents where all of the heirs agree on what could and should happen with the estate.  If this is small estate, then this would be the easiest resolution.  However, this isn't something you can do now.  It can only be done after your father has passed away.  The reason is that your father's estate could change (increase or decrease) by the time he passes. 
However, you can take some preliminary steps.  Visit with an attorney and review the size of your father's estate.  They can confirm, based on the current size and nature of the estate, as to whether or not an affidavit of heir ship will suffice.   They can also review your father's mortgage and deed to see if your dad can complete a lady bird deed.  This is basically where your father has a life estate, and you only receive it on his death.  There are advantages an disadvantages to using this type of deed.  If your dad had someone draw up this will, he may or may not have had a serious estate planning discussion with the probate attorney.  Considering the questions you had, some one may have done a plane-Jane will without really discussing the tax consequences and who is to pay for the probate, should it be necessary.  These are some things which can be addressed in the will to reduce frustration.

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.

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