Foreign Owned Property and U.S. Probate Law

Distributing Texas Property to Foreign Heirs with Ancillary Probate

Many of the clients we work with have close ties to families in Mexico or other Central and South American countries. Family members may go back and forth between the U.S. and their home country, or one part of the family may live in the United States near El Paso, Texas and the other family members live in the other country.

This situation can present challenges should a family member who owns property in Texas die and leave that property to family members over the border.

In Mexico, there is no legal process to probate a will in court. In the U.S., there is a very clear and detailed probate process that MUST be followed in order to transfer ownership of a home, a bank account, a restaurant or some other real property located in the U.S. to a non-citizen.

El Paso probate lawyer Victor Falvey helps executors and personal representatives distribute Texas property to foreign heirs with ancillary probate. If your loved one owned property in the U.S., Mr. Falvey can help you gain control of that property. Contact our El Paso law office to talk with him about the details of this special process. Call 915-229-6964 to schedule your initial consultation.


Transfer of Foreign Owned US Assets and Potential Problems

The Last Will and Testament of a person who owned property in but died outside of Texas can be probated in the same way in Texas probate court as the same as the Will of a person who lived and died in Texas. While there may be differences between the US (and the State of Texas) and the other country or state about how an estate should be handled, the Texas probate court judge will decide which one applies.

If the property in question is real property (like a house or a business) located in Texas, then Texas probate law will apply. If it is personal property (a car or money), then the laws of the country where the person lived will apply. So the court will want to know some of the following information:

  • Where the deceased person was living at the time of death
  • Whether the deceased person had legal resident or citizen status in the U.S.
  • Whether the deceased person had a Will and the validity of the Will if there was one
  • The type of property in question – whether real property or personal property
  • Whether taxes will be due on the property in question

This difference in how property is treated will become particularly important when it applies to “community property” and “separate property” of a spouse.

Mr. Falvey also works to represent the interests of beneficiaries who believe they have been treated unfairly in the probating of an estate. If you need legal help bringing a claim to court, he can represent you in probate litigation.

Ask Our Ancillary Probate Attorney

Contact our El Paso law office or call 915-229-6964 to schedule a consultation.