Attorney J. Winston Krause Explains Selling an Estate Without a Will Testament

Attorney J. Winston Krause

Oftentimes if one surviving child is living in the home rent-free and not paying taxes on the property, and the other children find this unfair and want to sell the house.

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For the last two decades, Austin attorney J. Winston Krause of Krause & Associates, LP has specifically handled family succession cases in which both parents died without a will, and the family home is left to multiple surviving adult children.

“Oftentimes if one surviving child is living in the home rent-free and not paying taxes on the property, and the other children find this unfair and want to sell the house,” noted Krause, who has been recognized as an AV Preeminent lawyer for the last ten years. The law helps people who own property together, but no longer wish to own together, to force a sale, particularly of a single family residence. In the event that there is no will document to reference for the fair allocation of the sale proceeds, Krause outlines the following steps for selling an inherited house:

No. 1: Contact an attorney to handle your case. “The right attorney will help you locate the appropriate court in your local area,” noted Krause.

No. 2: File a petition with the probate court to determine the heirs at law of the estate. This next step involves ensuring that the title of the house is established in the names of all the surviving adult children. The client must keep in mind that most courts will have their own rules on how the probate must proceed and each state’s laws are different.

No. 3: Once the title is established, file a partition action. Upon filing the partition case, you will also need to ask the court to order the sale of the house. The partition action asks the court to order the property sold and to divide the property sale proceeds among the siblings, although if one sibling is entitled to a reimbursement from the others, the case is the place to ask for that result. The siblings will still need to hire a realtor in order to sell the property and the court can order one person to sign legal documents for al the sibling/sellers. “Even though the child living at the house will need to move, they will still be compensated for their portion of the property,” concluded Krause.

About J. Winston Krause, Krause & Associates, LP
J. Winston Krause is the only lawyer in central Texas north of San Antonio who is certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization as a Specialist in Tax Law (since 1989) and a Specialist in Estate Planning and Probate Law (since 1996). Mr. Krause is licensed to practice law in Texas and is a member of the bar of and qualified to practice before the United States Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas, United States Court of Claims and the U.S. Tax Court. For more information, please call (512) 477-6707, or visit The law office is located at 504 West 13th,
Austin, TX 78701.

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