Unknown Joint Owner of Land
People move, marry, and pass away as time passes. Oftentimes, an owner of real property cannot find another owner who you know may have ownership interest. Identifying the rightful owners of land can be a problem after people die and proper records are not kept showing who inherited the real property ownership. Texas provides a procedure for addressing these issues after you file a petition to partition the real property. The person who files the partition is called the petitioner or plaintiff.
Due Diligence Affidavit
The petitioner or her attorney may make an affidavit swearing under oath that the other owner(s) or their whereabouts are unknown. The Court shall then issue a notice in a publication like a newspaper in an effort to summon the unknown person(s). The affidavit must state the due diligence, which is investigative efforts, made by the Petitioner. If you searched the internet, paid an investigator, called a family member, sent certified letters or any other efforts, you would need to list those in the affidavit to show the Court your due diligence.
If no one appears after the Court serves the unknown person by publication, the Judge will appoint an attorney ad litem. An attorney ad litem is an attorney appointed to protect the interests of those who have not appeared to defend themselves.
Malley Law Firm | Houston Real Estate Attorney
Contact Malley Law Firm if you are interested in forcing the sale or division of real property in Texas. We can assist you in partitioning land when unknown joint landowners are involved or your co owners whereabouts are unknown.