Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Texas land ownership question

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

  • Rusty Wallace
    started a topic Texas land ownership question

    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

  • Rusty Wallace
    replied
    Texas land ownership question

    "McGyver" <[email protected]> wrote:

    (snip)
    Thanks, Zen. I knew you would jump in to apply some actual knowledge to myscheming. My scheme was based on the assumption that Plaintiff and herprocess server would do a diligent job of trying to find the defendant.
    Wow! Thanks to both of you for such clear replies. I hope it was an
    interesting exercise for you. It's been very illuminating for me.

    If we tried to do something, we would search for him diligently. I
    just expect that a diligent search would be successful pretty quickly
    as I don't think he is missing so much as he has declined to make it
    easy for us to keep track of where he is. The prospect of him really
    being impossible to find is more of a worst case scenario as we would
    then be forced to take action to be able to do anything constructive
    with the land. I'm accutely aware that the reasonable and prudent
    solution to this difficulty is to get one party to buy out the other
    for a fair price or for both to cooperate in selling or partitioning
    the land and moving on. I'm also well aware that he may not be
    inclined to be reasonable and prudent and that we aren't terribly
    interested in sitting down at a table to try and work it out. It would
    be a simple matter to deal with if the history and emotions could be
    cut out.

    Leave a comment:


  • Rusty Wallace
    replied
    Texas land ownership question

    "McGyver" <[email protected]> wrote:

    (snip)
    Thanks, Zen. I knew you would jump in to apply some actual knowledge to myscheming. My scheme was based on the assumption that Plaintiff and herprocess server would do a diligent job of trying to find the defendant.
    Wow! Thanks to both of you for such clear replies. I hope it was an
    interesting exercise for you. It's been very illuminating for me.

    If we tried to do something, we would search for him diligently. I
    just expect that a diligent search would be successful pretty quickly
    as I don't think he is missing so much as he has declined to make it
    easy for us to keep track of where he is. The prospect of him really
    being impossible to find is more of a worst case scenario as we would
    then be forced to take action to be able to do anything constructive
    with the land. I'm accutely aware that the reasonable and prudent
    solution to this difficulty is to get one party to buy out the other
    for a fair price or for both to cooperate in selling or partitioning
    the land and moving on. I'm also well aware that he may not be
    inclined to be reasonable and prudent and that we aren't terribly
    interested in sitting down at a table to try and work it out. It would
    be a simple matter to deal with if the history and emotions could be
    cut out.

    Leave a comment:


  • McGyver
    replied
    Texas land ownership question


    "Zen Cohen" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    "McGyver" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected] ....
    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.
    In TX, if service is by publication and the D doesn't answer, the court would have to appoint an atty ad litem for the absent D. As I mentioned in this thread, this can run into the thousands of dollars. I was appointed atty ad litem in a missing-D case a few yrs ago, found the D myself and got him served with process. IIRC, I was awarded over $2000 in atty fees. In other cases, it coud be much higher. Further, depending on the circumstances, the court may tax the atty ad litem fees as costs against the plaintiff. You also mention a possible redemption period. TX does have a redemption period. I believe it is six months but that may have changed recently. (I also wouldn't assume the judgment lienholder will be the only bidder at a foreclosure sale.) Further, in TX, an absent D served by publication can file a motion for new trial up to two years after final judgment and file a bill of review up to four years after final j. The missing D may not be able to reverse the sale of the property but might still be entitled to a money judgment. It sounds like the OP does not want to put much of an effort into finding the co-owner, and if he were to file suit without having first made a significant effort to do so, it might end up causing him a lot of wasted money and time.
    Thanks, Zen. I knew you would jump in to apply some actual knowledge to my
    scheming. My scheme was based on the assumption that Plaintiff and her
    process server would do a diligent job of trying to find the defendant. It
    would be foolish to try to bypass service of process except as a last
    resort. Also, my thinking was that the defendant's half interest would be
    the subject of the foreclosure sale, not the entire parcel. If I'm right
    about that, the OP's mother would be the only bidder who would end up with
    marketable title to the entire property without going through an action for
    partition. I assumed that other bidders would be deterred by the prospect.
    The expenses you described seem small in comparison to the value of half of
    60 acres of timberland.

    McGyver


    Leave a comment:


  • McGyver
    replied
    Texas land ownership question


    "Zen Cohen" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    "McGyver" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected] ....
    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.
    In TX, if service is by publication and the D doesn't answer, the court would have to appoint an atty ad litem for the absent D. As I mentioned in this thread, this can run into the thousands of dollars. I was appointed atty ad litem in a missing-D case a few yrs ago, found the D myself and got him served with process. IIRC, I was awarded over $2000 in atty fees. In other cases, it coud be much higher. Further, depending on the circumstances, the court may tax the atty ad litem fees as costs against the plaintiff. You also mention a possible redemption period. TX does have a redemption period. I believe it is six months but that may have changed recently. (I also wouldn't assume the judgment lienholder will be the only bidder at a foreclosure sale.) Further, in TX, an absent D served by publication can file a motion for new trial up to two years after final judgment and file a bill of review up to four years after final j. The missing D may not be able to reverse the sale of the property but might still be entitled to a money judgment. It sounds like the OP does not want to put much of an effort into finding the co-owner, and if he were to file suit without having first made a significant effort to do so, it might end up causing him a lot of wasted money and time.
    Thanks, Zen. I knew you would jump in to apply some actual knowledge to my
    scheming. My scheme was based on the assumption that Plaintiff and her
    process server would do a diligent job of trying to find the defendant. It
    would be foolish to try to bypass service of process except as a last
    resort. Also, my thinking was that the defendant's half interest would be
    the subject of the foreclosure sale, not the entire parcel. If I'm right
    about that, the OP's mother would be the only bidder who would end up with
    marketable title to the entire property without going through an action for
    partition. I assumed that other bidders would be deterred by the prospect.
    The expenses you described seem small in comparison to the value of half of
    60 acres of timberland.

    McGyver


    Leave a comment:


  • Zen Cohen
    replied
    Texas land ownership question


    "McGyver" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    .....
    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.
    In TX, if service is by publication and the D doesn't answer, the court
    would have to appoint an atty ad litem for the absent D. As I mentioned in
    this thread, this can run into the thousands of dollars. I was appointed
    atty ad litem in a missing-D case a few yrs ago, found the D myself and got
    him served with process. IIRC, I was awarded over $2000 in atty fees. In
    other cases, it coud be much higher. Further, depending on the
    circumstances, the court may tax the atty ad litem fees as costs against the
    plaintiff. You also mention a possible redemption period. TX does have a
    redemption period. I believe it is six months but that may have changed
    recently. (I also wouldn't assume the judgment lienholder will be the only
    bidder at a foreclosure sale.) Further, in TX, an absent D served by
    publication can file a motion for new trial up to two years after final
    judgment and file a bill of review up to four years after final j. The
    missing D may not be able to reverse the sale of the property but might
    still be entitled to a money judgment.

    It sounds like the OP does not want to put much of an effort into finding
    the co-owner, and if he were to file suit without having first made a
    significant effort to do so, it might end up causing him a lot of wasted
    money and time.


    Leave a comment:


  • Zen Cohen
    replied
    Texas land ownership question


    "McGyver" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    .....
    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.
    In TX, if service is by publication and the D doesn't answer, the court
    would have to appoint an atty ad litem for the absent D. As I mentioned in
    this thread, this can run into the thousands of dollars. I was appointed
    atty ad litem in a missing-D case a few yrs ago, found the D myself and got
    him served with process. IIRC, I was awarded over $2000 in atty fees. In
    other cases, it coud be much higher. Further, depending on the
    circumstances, the court may tax the atty ad litem fees as costs against the
    plaintiff. You also mention a possible redemption period. TX does have a
    redemption period. I believe it is six months but that may have changed
    recently. (I also wouldn't assume the judgment lienholder will be the only
    bidder at a foreclosure sale.) Further, in TX, an absent D served by
    publication can file a motion for new trial up to two years after final
    judgment and file a bill of review up to four years after final j. The
    missing D may not be able to reverse the sale of the property but might
    still be entitled to a money judgment.

    It sounds like the OP does not want to put much of an effort into finding
    the co-owner, and if he were to file suit without having first made a
    significant effort to do so, it might end up causing him a lot of wasted
    money and time.


    Leave a comment:


  • McGyver
    replied
    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?
    I didn't answer your last question because I don't know the Texas rules, but
    I've decided to add my uninformed opinion anyway.

    If the defendant arrives before you have a default judgment, he might defend
    the lawsuit, but might not bother if he feels he has no defense. He might
    simply pay the amount your mother sued for. If that happens, the suit will
    be dismissed.

    If the defendant arrives after the land interest is in foreclosure, he has
    whatever redemptions rights are available under Texas law. I don't know
    what those rights are. Worst case for your mother would be the defendant
    having the right to clear the lien by payment of the judgment amount. Best
    case is no right of redemption.

    The following are general rules, which may or may not be the Texas rules.
    Generally, in both of the above cases, your mother will not be entitled to
    recover litigation expenses. But she would be entitled to increase the
    judgment amount to add interest and collection expenses, like fees charged
    by the sheriff.

    This answer must not be relied on as legal

    advice for the reasons posted here:
    http://www.msnusers.com/1LawChat/Doc...Disclaimer.doc


    McGyver




    Leave a comment:


  • McGyver
    replied
    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?
    I didn't answer your last question because I don't know the Texas rules, but
    I've decided to add my uninformed opinion anyway.

    If the defendant arrives before you have a default judgment, he might defend
    the lawsuit, but might not bother if he feels he has no defense. He might
    simply pay the amount your mother sued for. If that happens, the suit will
    be dismissed.

    If the defendant arrives after the land interest is in foreclosure, he has
    whatever redemptions rights are available under Texas law. I don't know
    what those rights are. Worst case for your mother would be the defendant
    having the right to clear the lien by payment of the judgment amount. Best
    case is no right of redemption.

    The following are general rules, which may or may not be the Texas rules.
    Generally, in both of the above cases, your mother will not be entitled to
    recover litigation expenses. But she would be entitled to increase the
    judgment amount to add interest and collection expenses, like fees charged
    by the sheriff.

    This answer must not be relied on as legal

    advice for the reasons posted here:
    http://www.msnusers.com/1LawChat/Doc...Disclaimer.doc


    McGyver




    Leave a comment:


  • McGyver
    replied
    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


    Leave a comment:


  • McGyver
    replied
    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


    Leave a comment:


  • Rusty Wallace
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • Rusty Wallace
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • Rusty Wallace
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • Rusty Wallace
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:

Working...
X