Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Texas land ownership question

Collapse
This topic is closed.
X
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Texas land ownership question

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can shed any light on this issue.

    My mother owns a 50% interest in a 60 acre piece of timberland in
    Texas. No one lives on the property or makes any particular use of
    it. My mother's name and address is the only information recorded at
    with the county. The fellow who owns the other 50% has evidently
    moved and hasn't bothered to tell my mother where he is to be found.
    Every year she would send a copy of the property tax assessment and he
    would either send a check to her or the county for his half of the
    property taxes. This year her letter was returned as undeliverable.

    What obligation, if any, does she have to track him down? How is her
    ability to sell the property or sell timber from the property affected
    by his absence? What remedy does she have if years start to pass and
    he does not come forward? Will he eventually lose his ownership
    interest?

    Rusty

  • #2
    Texas land ownership question


    "Rusty Wallace" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    My mother owns a 50% interest in a 60 acre piece of timberland in Texas. No one lives on the property or makes any particular use of it. My mother's name and address is the only information recorded at with the county. The fellow who owns the other 50% has evidently moved and hasn't bothered to tell my mother where he is to be found. Every year she would send a copy of the property tax assessment and he would either send a check to her or the county for his half of the property taxes. This year her letter was returned as undeliverable. What obligation, if any, does she have to track him down? How is her ability to sell the property or sell timber from the property affected by his absence? What remedy does she have if years start to pass and he does not come forward? Will he eventually lose his ownership interest?
    First, her getting a letter returned undelivered is not necessarily a big
    deal. I suspect he would not be too hard to track down with a little more
    research.

    If your mom wants to make sure not to lose the property, she should continue
    paying the taxes. She will have a right to contribution for her co-owner's
    share, which she can take from the proceeds of an eventual sale of the land
    or timber.

    She is probably a "tenant in common" with the other owner. As such, I
    believe that she has a right and authority to sell timber from the property,
    though she probably has to account to him for any net income (offset by
    taxes and other legit expenses). If she and the other guy hold the property
    as "joint tenants with right of survivorship" and the other guy is dead,
    then she gets his full ownership interest simply by operation of law.

    If she can't find the guy, there are a couple possible options that I can
    think of, but as another poster mentioned, she should go to an attorney to
    decide what she's actually going to do.

    First, in TX, a co-owner has a right to judicial partition of the land.
    That probably means that she could have the property split into two tracts,
    with each of them owning 100% interest in one of the two tracts. This can
    probably be done without his presence but the court will likely have to
    appoint an attorney ad litem for him, and this can run into thousands of
    dollars.

    She can also try to "oust" the co-tenant to set the clock running on the
    applicable adverse possession statute of limitations, at the end of which
    she would take full ownership, provided she can meet the elements for such a
    claim. It's hard to oust a co-tenant where no one is occupying the land,
    though, but it can be done.



    Comment


    • #3
      Texas land ownership question


      "Rusty Wallace" <[email protected]> wrote in message
      news:[email protected]
      My mother owns a 50% interest in a 60 acre piece of timberland in Texas. No one lives on the property or makes any particular use of it. My mother's name and address is the only information recorded at with the county. The fellow who owns the other 50% has evidently moved and hasn't bothered to tell my mother where he is to be found. Every year she would send a copy of the property tax assessment and he would either send a check to her or the county for his half of the property taxes. This year her letter was returned as undeliverable. What obligation, if any, does she have to track him down? How is her ability to sell the property or sell timber from the property affected by his absence? What remedy does she have if years start to pass and he does not come forward? Will he eventually lose his ownership interest?
      First, her getting a letter returned undelivered is not necessarily a big
      deal. I suspect he would not be too hard to track down with a little more
      research.

      If your mom wants to make sure not to lose the property, she should continue
      paying the taxes. She will have a right to contribution for her co-owner's
      share, which she can take from the proceeds of an eventual sale of the land
      or timber.

      She is probably a "tenant in common" with the other owner. As such, I
      believe that she has a right and authority to sell timber from the property,
      though she probably has to account to him for any net income (offset by
      taxes and other legit expenses). If she and the other guy hold the property
      as "joint tenants with right of survivorship" and the other guy is dead,
      then she gets his full ownership interest simply by operation of law.

      If she can't find the guy, there are a couple possible options that I can
      think of, but as another poster mentioned, she should go to an attorney to
      decide what she's actually going to do.

      First, in TX, a co-owner has a right to judicial partition of the land.
      That probably means that she could have the property split into two tracts,
      with each of them owning 100% interest in one of the two tracts. This can
      probably be done without his presence but the court will likely have to
      appoint an attorney ad litem for him, and this can run into thousands of
      dollars.

      She can also try to "oust" the co-tenant to set the clock running on the
      applicable adverse possession statute of limitations, at the end of which
      she would take full ownership, provided she can meet the elements for such a
      claim. It's hard to oust a co-tenant where no one is occupying the land,
      though, but it can be done.



      Comment


      • #4
        Texas land ownership question


        "Zen Cohen" <[email protected]> wrote in message
        news:[email protected]
        "Rusty Wallace" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]
        She can also try to "oust" the co-tenant to set the clock running on the
        applicable adverse possession statute of limitations, at the end of which she would take full ownership, provided she can meet the elements for such a claim. It's hard to oust a co-tenant where no one is occupying the land, though, but it can be done.
        I would think not really. There is a thing in Texas about land abondment.
        I beleive if a person moves on the property without permission and the owner
        never contests it then the person who moved on it after a certain time can
        claim it is abadoned and take ownership.

        I only know about this after reading about it in a local newspaper when some
        migrants started setting up home on a plot of private land.



        Comment


        • #5
          Texas land ownership question


          "Zen Cohen" <[email protected]> wrote in message
          news:[email protected]
          "Rusty Wallace" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]
          She can also try to "oust" the co-tenant to set the clock running on the
          applicable adverse possession statute of limitations, at the end of which she would take full ownership, provided she can meet the elements for such a claim. It's hard to oust a co-tenant where no one is occupying the land, though, but it can be done.
          I would think not really. There is a thing in Texas about land abondment.
          I beleive if a person moves on the property without permission and the owner
          never contests it then the person who moved on it after a certain time can
          claim it is abadoned and take ownership.

          I only know about this after reading about it in a local newspaper when some
          migrants started setting up home on a plot of private land.



          Comment


          • #6
            Texas land ownership question


            "GeekBoy" <[email protected]> wrote in message
            news:[email protected] .
            There is a thing in Texas about land abondment. I beleive if a person moves on the property without permission and the owner never contests it then the person who moved on it after a certain time can claim it is abadoned and take ownership. I only know about this after reading about it in a local newspaper when some migrants started setting up home on a plot of private land.
            Sounds like they became owners not because the owner abandoned the land but
            because the occupiers satisfied the adverse possession statute. Google
            something like "adverse possession elements" and you'll probably get a good
            understanding of what it is.


            Comment


            • #7
              Texas land ownership question


              "GeekBoy" <Geek[email protected]> wrote in message
              news:[email protected] .
              There is a thing in Texas about land abondment. I beleive if a person moves on the property without permission and the owner never contests it then the person who moved on it after a certain time can claim it is abadoned and take ownership. I only know about this after reading about it in a local newspaper when some migrants started setting up home on a plot of private land.
              Sounds like they became owners not because the owner abandoned the land but
              because the occupiers satisfied the adverse possession statute. Google
              something like "adverse possession elements" and you'll probably get a good
              understanding of what it is.


              Comment


              • #8
                Texas land ownership question

                "Rusty Wallace" <[email protected]> wrote in message
                news:[email protected]
                Thanks in advance to anyone who can shed any light on this issue. My mother owns a 50% interest in a 60 acre piece of timberland in Texas. No one lives on the property or makes any particular use of it. My mother's name and address is the only information recorded at with the county. The fellow who owns the other 50% has evidently moved and hasn't bothered to tell my mother where he is to be found. Every year she would send a copy of the property tax assessment and he would either send a check to her or the county for his half of the property taxes. This year her letter was returned as undeliverable. What obligation, if any, does she have to track him down? How is her ability to sell the property or sell timber from the property affected by his absence? What remedy does she have if years start to pass and he does not come forward? Will he eventually lose his ownership interest?
                Your mother should sue the co-owner for contribution of his share of the
                property taxes. She would attempt personal service of process even though
                she knows it will be futile. When service of process proves to be
                impossible by normal means, and with the help of the affidavit of the
                process server, she would obtain the court's permission to serve process by
                publication. After publication, and assuming the defendant defaults, your
                mother would File for entry of default and obtain the default judgment.
                Somehow, in accordance with Texas lien procedures with which I am not
                familiar, she would attach a lien to the defendant's share of the property.
                Then she would foreclose on the lien. After passage of the amount of time
                allowed for the owner to object to the foreclosure and/or redeem the
                property by payment of the lien amount, the sheriff would sell, at auction,
                the defendant's share of the property. Your mother almost surely would be
                the only bidder. She would bid one dollar and become the sole owner of the
                land, having a "Sheriff's Deed" which is as good as or better than a
                warranty deed. Simple.

                McGyver


                Comment


                • #9
                  Texas land ownership question

                  "Rusty Wallace" <[email protected]> wrote in message
                  news:[email protected]
                  Thanks in advance to anyone who can shed any light on this issue. My mother owns a 50% interest in a 60 acre piece of timberland in Texas. No one lives on the property or makes any particular use of it. My mother's name and address is the only information recorded at with the county. The fellow who owns the other 50% has evidently moved and hasn't bothered to tell my mother where he is to be found. Every year she would send a copy of the property tax assessment and he would either send a check to her or the county for his half of the property taxes. This year her letter was returned as undeliverable. What obligation, if any, does she have to track him down? How is her ability to sell the property or sell timber from the property affected by his absence? What remedy does she have if years start to pass and he does not come forward? Will he eventually lose his ownership interest?
                  Your mother should sue the co-owner for contribution of his share of the
                  property taxes. She would attempt personal service of process even though
                  she knows it will be futile. When service of process proves to be
                  impossible by normal means, and with the help of the affidavit of the
                  process server, she would obtain the court's permission to serve process by
                  publication. After publication, and assuming the defendant defaults, your
                  mother would File for entry of default and obtain the default judgment.
                  Somehow, in accordance with Texas lien procedures with which I am not
                  familiar, she would attach a lien to the defendant's share of the property.
                  Then she would foreclose on the lien. After passage of the amount of time
                  allowed for the owner to object to the foreclosure and/or redeem the
                  property by payment of the lien amount, the sheriff would sell, at auction,
                  the defendant's share of the property. Your mother almost surely would be
                  the only bidder. She would bid one dollar and become the sole owner of the
                  land, having a "Sheriff's Deed" which is as good as or better than a
                  warranty deed. Simple.

                  McGyver


                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Texas land ownership question

                    "Zen Cohen" <[email protected]> wrote:
                    (snip)
                    First, her getting a letter returned undelivered is not necessarily a bigdeal. I suspect he would not be too hard to track down with a little moreresearch.
                    Thanks for such an informative reply.

                    You are almost certainly correct. I would be surprised if he has left
                    the area and he's probably still listed in the phone book. For a
                    variety of personal reasons the whole situation is emotionally
                    stressful and the prospect of tracking him down to make an issue of
                    the taxes isn't very appealing to mom (or me, for that matter). I
                    wouldn't put it past him to have let the contact lapse on purpose just
                    to annoy us.
                    If your mom wants to make sure not to lose the property, she should continuepaying the taxes. She will have a right to contribution for her co-owner'sshare, which she can take from the proceeds of an eventual sale of the landor timber.
                    She can certainly pay the taxes. It's only ~$500 a year. So there is
                    no danger of failing to pay them. It's more a matter of fairness than
                    anything else. Do you know how many years back she can go in terms of
                    claiming his share of the taxes? Is this the same as any other debt
                    that would be subject to a statute of limitations?
                    She is probably a "tenant in common" with the other owner. As such, Ibelieve that she has a right and authority to sell timber from the property,though she probably has to account to him for any net income (offset bytaxes and other legit expenses). If she and the other guy hold the propertyas "joint tenants with right of survivorship" and the other guy is dead,then she gets his full ownership interest simply by operation of law.
                    To expand slightly on the circumstances, 100% interest was held by my
                    great-grandmother. Upon her death, the interest was split between my
                    father and his sister. Later, my father died and his interest went to
                    my mother and a fews years after that, his sister died and her
                    interest went to her husband.

                    You are saying that she can probably sell timber, but ought to reserve
                    half the proceeds in the event that he turns up?
                    If she can't find the guy, there are a couple possible options that I canthink of, but as another poster mentioned, she should go to an attorney todecide what she's actually going to do.
                    Yes, we're going to go consult an attorney next week. I just wanted
                    to see what this group had to say on the subject. It isn't really an
                    urgent issue for us. It's just a source of stress for her and
                    frustration for me and his decision to move while making no effort to
                    leave us a way of contacting him combined with a recent inquiry
                    regarding purchasing the property has us in a mood to find out exactly
                    what options there are for resolving the matter.
                    First, in TX, a co-owner has a right to judicial partition of the land.That probably means that she could have the property split into two tracts,with each of them owning 100% interest in one of the two tracts. This canprobably be done without his presence but the court will likely have toappoint an attorney ad litem for him, and this can run into thousands ofdollars.
                    That's an option we were aware of - and the likely expense. When my
                    father died my mother asked about this option and her lawyer at the
                    time said it was expensive and it would be better to wait and see if
                    my aunt would initiate such an action herself. So we have let the
                    situation lie for about ten years now with nothing much happening to
                    really upset the cart until she couldn't reach him this year for his
                    share of the taxes.
                    She can also try to "oust" the co-tenant to set the clock running on theapplicable adverse possession statute of limitations, at the end of whichshe would take full ownership, provided she can meet the elements for such aclaim. It's hard to oust a co-tenant where no one is occupying the land,though, but it can be done.
                    Have you read the procedure outlined by McGyver? Does that sound
                    about right in Texas or are there state specific obstacles to such a
                    course?

                    One of the things my mother has considered is just donating her
                    interest in the land to some charitable organization - preferably one
                    that would have an interest in keeping the land in its currently
                    pretty unspoiled condition. The land is in the East Texas piney woods
                    not far from Woodville, for anyone who might know something about
                    this.

                    That's a pretty emotional response, I think. Certainly she wouldn't
                    receive much, if any, financial benefit from that sort of tactic and
                    I'm unsure what impact it would really have on his own ownership
                    interest. However, it does have a certain spiteful appeal to it.

                    Thanks again,

                    Rusty

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Texas land ownership question

                      "Zen Cohen" <[email protected]> wrote:
                      (snip)
                      First, her getting a letter returned undelivered is not necessarily a bigdeal. I suspect he would not be too hard to track down with a little moreresearch.
                      Thanks for such an informative reply.

                      You are almost certainly correct. I would be surprised if he has left
                      the area and he's probably still listed in the phone book. For a
                      variety of personal reasons the whole situation is emotionally
                      stressful and the prospect of tracking him down to make an issue of
                      the taxes isn't very appealing to mom (or me, for that matter). I
                      wouldn't put it past him to have let the contact lapse on purpose just
                      to annoy us.
                      If your mom wants to make sure not to lose the property, she should continuepaying the taxes. She will have a right to contribution for her co-owner'sshare, which she can take from the proceeds of an eventual sale of the landor timber.
                      She can certainly pay the taxes. It's only ~$500 a year. So there is
                      no danger of failing to pay them. It's more a matter of fairness than
                      anything else. Do you know how many years back she can go in terms of
                      claiming his share of the taxes? Is this the same as any other debt
                      that would be subject to a statute of limitations?
                      She is probably a "tenant in common" with the other owner. As such, Ibelieve that she has a right and authority to sell timber from the property,though she probably has to account to him for any net income (offset bytaxes and other legit expenses). If she and the other guy hold the propertyas "joint tenants with right of survivorship" and the other guy is dead,then she gets his full ownership interest simply by operation of law.
                      To expand slightly on the circumstances, 100% interest was held by my
                      great-grandmother. Upon her death, the interest was split between my
                      father and his sister. Later, my father died and his interest went to
                      my mother and a fews years after that, his sister died and her
                      interest went to her husband.

                      You are saying that she can probably sell timber, but ought to reserve
                      half the proceeds in the event that he turns up?
                      If she can't find the guy, there are a couple possible options that I canthink of, but as another poster mentioned, she should go to an attorney todecide what she's actually going to do.
                      Yes, we're going to go consult an attorney next week. I just wanted
                      to see what this group had to say on the subject. It isn't really an
                      urgent issue for us. It's just a source of stress for her and
                      frustration for me and his decision to move while making no effort to
                      leave us a way of contacting him combined with a recent inquiry
                      regarding purchasing the property has us in a mood to find out exactly
                      what options there are for resolving the matter.
                      First, in TX, a co-owner has a right to judicial partition of the land.That probably means that she could have the property split into two tracts,with each of them owning 100% interest in one of the two tracts. This canprobably be done without his presence but the court will likely have toappoint an attorney ad litem for him, and this can run into thousands ofdollars.
                      That's an option we were aware of - and the likely expense. When my
                      father died my mother asked about this option and her lawyer at the
                      time said it was expensive and it would be better to wait and see if
                      my aunt would initiate such an action herself. So we have let the
                      situation lie for about ten years now with nothing much happening to
                      really upset the cart until she couldn't reach him this year for his
                      share of the taxes.
                      She can also try to "oust" the co-tenant to set the clock running on theapplicable adverse possession statute of limitations, at the end of whichshe would take full ownership, provided she can meet the elements for such aclaim. It's hard to oust a co-tenant where no one is occupying the land,though, but it can be done.
                      Have you read the procedure outlined by McGyver? Does that sound
                      about right in Texas or are there state specific obstacles to such a
                      course?

                      One of the things my mother has considered is just donating her
                      interest in the land to some charitable organization - preferably one
                      that would have an interest in keeping the land in its currently
                      pretty unspoiled condition. The land is in the East Texas piney woods
                      not far from Woodville, for anyone who might know something about
                      this.

                      That's a pretty emotional response, I think. Certainly she wouldn't
                      receive much, if any, financial benefit from that sort of tactic and
                      I'm unsure what impact it would really have on his own ownership
                      interest. However, it does have a certain spiteful appeal to it.

                      Thanks again,

                      Rusty

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Texas land ownership question

                        "McGyver" <[email protected]> wrote:
                        (snip)
                        Your mother should sue the co-owner for contribution of his share of theproperty taxes. She would attempt personal service of process even thoughshe knows it will be futile. When service of process proves to beimpossible by normal means, and with the help of the affidavit of theprocess server, she would obtain the court's permission to serve process bypublication. After publication, and assuming the defendant defaults, yourmother would File for entry of default and obtain the default judgment.Somehow, in accordance with Texas lien procedures with which I am notfamiliar, she would attach a lien to the defendant's share of the property.Then she would foreclose on the lien. After passage of the amount of timeallowed for the owner to object to the foreclosure and/or redeem theproperty by payment of the lien amount, the sheriff would sell, at auction,the defendant's share of the property. Your mother almost surely would bethe only bidder. She would bid one dollar and become the sole owner of theland, having a "Sheriff's Deed" which is as good as or better than awarranty deed. Simple.
                        Simple? I suppose... If you were doing this for someone, about how
                        much of your time do you think it would take and how much would it
                        cost, assuming the other party never put in an appearance? If we
                        tried to do it without an attorney, how much time and expense would be
                        entailed - and how many pitfalls for the legally naive? I know some
                        of this is state dependent - I'm just curious to get a very general
                        estimate. This sounds like a procedure that would take months to a
                        couple of years depending on how long the various waiting periods are.

                        If he turned up right before the foreclosure wanting to preserve his
                        ownership interest, would he be liable for paying the expenses
                        incurred in getting to that point?

                        Thanks for all the food for thought.

                        Rusty

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Texas land ownership question

                          "McGyver" <[email protected]> wrote:
                          (snip)
                          Your mother should sue the co-owner for contribution of his share of theproperty taxes. She would attempt personal service of process even thoughshe knows it will be futile. When service of process proves to beimpossible by normal means, and with the help of the affidavit of theprocess server, she would obtain the court's permission to serve process bypublication. After publication, and assuming the defendant defaults, yourmother would File for entry of default and obtain the default judgment.Somehow, in accordance with Texas lien procedures with which I am notfamiliar, she would attach a lien to the defendant's share of the property.Then she would foreclose on the lien. After passage of the amount of timeallowed for the owner to object to the foreclosure and/or redeem theproperty by payment of the lien amount, the sheriff would sell, at auction,the defendant's share of the property. Your mother almost surely would bethe only bidder. She would bid one dollar and become the sole owner of theland, having a "Sheriff's Deed" which is as good as or better than awarranty deed. Simple.
                          Simple? I suppose... If you were doing this for someone, about how
                          much of your time do you think it would take and how much would it
                          cost, assuming the other party never put in an appearance? If we
                          tried to do it without an attorney, how much time and expense would be
                          entailed - and how many pitfalls for the legally naive? I know some
                          of this is state dependent - I'm just curious to get a very general
                          estimate. This sounds like a procedure that would take months to a
                          couple of years depending on how long the various waiting periods are.

                          If he turned up right before the foreclosure wanting to preserve his
                          ownership interest, would he be liable for paying the expenses
                          incurred in getting to that point?

                          Thanks for all the food for thought.

                          Rusty

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Texas land ownership question

                            "Rusty Wallace" <[email protected]> wrote in message
                            news:[email protected]
                            "McGyver" <[email protected]> wrote: (snip)
                            Your mother should sue the co-owner for contribution of his share of theproperty taxes. She would attempt personal service of process even thoughshe knows it will be futile. When service of process proves to beimpossible by normal means, and with the help of the affidavit of theprocess server, she would obtain the court's permission to serve processbypublication. After publication, and assuming the defendant defaults, yourmother would File for entry of default and obtain the default judgment.Somehow, in accordance with Texas lien procedures with which I am notfamiliar, she would attach a lien to the defendant's share of theproperty.Then she would foreclose on the lien. After passage of the amount of timeallowed for the owner to object to the foreclosure and/or redeem theproperty by payment of the lien amount, the sheriff would sell, atauction,the defendant's share of the property. Your mother almost surely wouldbethe only bidder. She would bid one dollar and become the sole owner oftheland, having a "Sheriff's Deed" which is as good as or better than awarranty deed. Simple.
                            Simple? I suppose... If you were doing this for someone, about how much of your time do you think it would take and how much would it cost, assuming the other party never put in an appearance? If we tried to do it without an attorney, how much time and expense would be entailed - and how many pitfalls for the legally naive? I know some of this is state dependent - I'm just curious to get a very general estimate. This sounds like a procedure that would take months to a couple of years depending on how long the various waiting periods are. If he turned up right before the foreclosure wanting to preserve his ownership interest, would he be liable for paying the expenses incurred in getting to that point? Thanks for all the food for thought.
                            If an attorney handles it for you, expect to pay a minimum of $2,000 plus
                            (I'm guessing) about $600 in filing fees, sheriff's fees, process server
                            fees. The legal fees could be much higher, or course, but this project
                            involves very little attorney time if the attorney or the paralegal already
                            knows how to do it. There is no trial, no discovery. Several documents
                            must be drafted and filed, a few court appearances are needed on routine
                            matters that can be handled in minutes, not counting the time spent sitting
                            around the courtroom waiting your turn.

                            If you do it yourself, you will spend about 15 hours doing things and tons
                            of hours learning how. The only part that is a bit esoteric is attaching
                            the lien to the real property and foreclosing on the lien. That may involve
                            a second lawsuit. But even though there are a lot of steps, it really is
                            simple if you know how. But as you suggested, there are "pitfalls for the
                            legally naive." If you or your mother are determined to become non-naive by
                            haunting the county law library until you learn everything an attorney would
                            know about this case, there won't be pitfalls. If you and your mother are
                            not ready to make a committment to that kind of project, let an attorney
                            handle it.

                            I don't see why you would hesitate. The payoff is a gain of (a) half
                            interest in 60 acres of timberland and (b) the other half interest becomes
                            marketable.


                            This answer must not be relied on as legal

                            advice for the reasons posted here:

                            http://www.msnusers.com/1LawChat/Doc...Disclaimer.doc


                            McGyver


                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Texas land ownership question

                              "Rusty Wallace" <[email protected]> wrote in message
                              news:[email protected]
                              "McGyver" <[email protected]> wrote: (snip)
                              Your mother should sue the co-owner for contribution of his share of theproperty taxes. She would attempt personal service of process even thoughshe knows it will be futile. When service of process proves to beimpossible by normal means, and with the help of the affidavit of theprocess server, she would obtain the court's permission to serve processbypublication. After publication, and assuming the defendant defaults, yourmother would File for entry of default and obtain the default judgment.Somehow, in accordance with Texas lien procedures with which I am notfamiliar, she would attach a lien to the defendant's share of theproperty.Then she would foreclose on the lien. After passage of the amount of timeallowed for the owner to object to the foreclosure and/or redeem theproperty by payment of the lien amount, the sheriff would sell, atauction,the defendant's share of the property. Your mother almost surely wouldbethe only bidder. She would bid one dollar and become the sole owner oftheland, having a "Sheriff's Deed" which is as good as or better than awarranty deed. Simple.
                              Simple? I suppose... If you were doing this for someone, about how much of your time do you think it would take and how much would it cost, assuming the other party never put in an appearance? If we tried to do it without an attorney, how much time and expense would be entailed - and how many pitfalls for the legally naive? I know some of this is state dependent - I'm just curious to get a very general estimate. This sounds like a procedure that would take months to a couple of years depending on how long the various waiting periods are. If he turned up right before the foreclosure wanting to preserve his ownership interest, would he be liable for paying the expenses incurred in getting to that point? Thanks for all the food for thought.
                              If an attorney handles it for you, expect to pay a minimum of $2,000 plus
                              (I'm guessing) about $600 in filing fees, sheriff's fees, process server
                              fees. The legal fees could be much higher, or course, but this project
                              involves very little attorney time if the attorney or the paralegal already
                              knows how to do it. There is no trial, no discovery. Several documents
                              must be drafted and filed, a few court appearances are needed on routine
                              matters that can be handled in minutes, not counting the time spent sitting
                              around the courtroom waiting your turn.

                              If you do it yourself, you will spend about 15 hours doing things and tons
                              of hours learning how. The only part that is a bit esoteric is attaching
                              the lien to the real property and foreclosing on the lien. That may involve
                              a second lawsuit. But even though there are a lot of steps, it really is
                              simple if you know how. But as you suggested, there are "pitfalls for the
                              legally naive." If you or your mother are determined to become non-naive by
                              haunting the county law library until you learn everything an attorney would
                              know about this case, there won't be pitfalls. If you and your mother are
                              not ready to make a committment to that kind of project, let an attorney
                              handle it.

                              I don't see why you would hesitate. The payoff is a gain of (a) half
                              interest in 60 acres of timberland and (b) the other half interest becomes
                              marketable.


                              This answer must not be relied on as legal

                              advice for the reasons posted here:

                              http://www.msnusers.com/1LawChat/Doc...Disclaimer.doc


                              McGyver


                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X