Last month we wrote an article about the use of community administration as client lacked any estate planning documents (in particular, neither a power of attorney nor a Will) to achieve the client’s goals. The facts of this month’s success story are as follows: client (daughter) and her father owned real estate together which daughter has used as her home for over 30 years. Dad, widowed, died without a will and was survived by four children (including the daughter who owned the property with dad). Under the laws of intestacy (when one dies without a will), all four children would be entitled to equally share dad’s ½ interest in the property. Daughter, (who has been paying the taxes and maintaining the property since the onset), does not get along with one of her siblings (if all got along, the siblings could have simply deeded their interest to the daughter/client who lived on and partially owned the property). Although the daughter could sue for adverse possession as she lived at home for years and paid the taxes and maintained it, such suits are costly, cumbersome and often unsuccessful. However, under a law that passed last year, there is now a less expensive option which is likely to be successful. Under the new law, the client will be able to sign an Affidavit of Heirship (under the terms set forth under the law including a statement that she has lived there the last 10 years (and the other heirs have not) and paid the taxes, etc. without the assistance of the other heirs) publish notice and give notice to her siblings. If the other heirs do not file a controverting affidavit or file suit within five years (and it is unlikely that the other heirs would do either in this case), then the property will be solely owned by daughter/client as a matter of law without a lawsuit. So where there is no Will, there is still a way.


If interested in attending our next free ($1,000 value as attendees also get a free meeting) Estate Planning Essentials Workshop on June 16, click here or call (214) 720-0102.


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