Wassmer v. Hopper, 463 S.W.3d 513 (Tex. App.—El Paso 2014, no pet.).




Husband and Wife purchased a home while married.  After Husband died intestate, Husband’s children from a prior marriage attempted to force Wife to sell her interest in the homestead (her one-half outright ownership of the community property home plus her homestead right to occupy the entire homestead for life or until abandonment).


The appellate court first examined Wife’s claim that Husband’s children had no standing because they had already conveyed their interest in the home to a third-party.  The children claim they conveyed the property to a limited liability company to protect their interests during the appeal and then would have the LLC reconvey the property to them after the appeal is resolved.  Nonetheless, there was no current controversy between the children and Wife and thus the children lacked standing with regard to any issues regarding the homestead.


The court also held that Wife has the exclusive right to use and possess the homestead regardless of the desires of the current title holder and that the homestead cannot be partitioned as long as Wife maintains the property as her homestead.


Morals:  A party who wants to make claims with respect to inherited property needs to still own that property when making a claim.  Persons inheriting property subject to a homestead right must wait patiently for the homestead claimant to die or abandon the homestead before they can use or occupy it; they cannot force a premature partition.