A new statute will provide new rights to co-tenant heirs and a new option for the Texas real estate attorneys assisting them. The Texas legislature recently passed and Governor Abbott signed Section 16.0265 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code that provides assistance to heirs who have collectively inherited real estate from a common ancestor. In particular, it gives some additional rights to the heir or heirs who live on, use and pay taxes on the land to the exclusion of the other heirs. You can read the full text of the new law here.
This new statute applies to cotenant heirs, which the statute defines as one of two or more people who simultaneously acquire identical and undivided ownership interests in real property through intestate succession. Intestate succession means the passage of title to property according to the Texas Estates Code, which applies when someone dies without leaving a will or if someone has left will, but the will was not probated. This is a common situation, and is sometimes difficult to remedy short of filing a lawsuit.
Specifically, the new statute says that one or more cotenant heirs may acquire interests of the other heirs by adverse possession if, for a continuous and uninterrupted ten year period: