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Inherited Homes and Homestead Exemptions

Other House & Apartment Issues

This article explains how to get a homestead exemption on a property you inherited in Texas.

Here you will learn the application process for a homestead exemption as an heir property owner, including how to apply when there are multiple heirs. You will also learn how to apply for a homestead exemption when you don’t have a deed to the property in your name. 

This article is based on information written by the Texas Comptroller’s Office and University of Texas. Revised on October 21, 2022. 

I inherited a home. Do I qualify for a homestead exemption?

If you have inherited a home that is your primary residence, you can qualify for a homestead exemption as an “heir property owner.”  

Does it matter how I inherited the home?

You are an heir property owner if you inherited your primary residence by will, transfer on death deed, or intestacy, regardless of whether your ownership is recorded in the county’s records. 

What is intestacy?

When someone dies without a will or transfer on death deed, their property is automatically distributed to heirs through a process called intestacy. 

Intestacy laws determine who inherits the home and other assets.  The deceased person’s spouse and children are typically first in line to inherit the home. These relatives automatically become the new owners upon the homeowners’ death. 

If you have inherited your home via intestacy, it’s best to file an affidavit of heirship in the county deed records where the property is located. This is not required to apply for a homestead exemption, however. 

For guidance on the process of filing an affidavit of heirship, read Transferring Property After Death and Avoiding Probate Court

What is a homestead exemption?

A homestead exemption helps lower the property taxes on your home. 

How do I apply for the homestead exemption for heir property owners?

To qualify for a homestead exemption, you must submit a homestead application form to the appraisal district in the county where the property is located. 

In Section 3: Property Information of the application form, you will see the question, “Is the property for which this application is submitted an heir property?” Answer yes to this question.

What if I do not have a deed to the property in my name?

An heir property owner not specifically identified as the residence homestead owner on a deed or other recorded instrument in the county where the property is located must submit the following documentation to the appraisal district as proof of ownership: 

  • an affidavit establishing ownership of interest in the property (See Form 50-114-A);  

  • a copy of the prior property owner’s death certificate; 

  • a copy of the property’s most recent utility bill; and  

  • a citation of any court record relating to the applicant’s ownership of the property, if available. 

What is the homestead exemption application process when there are multiple heirs?

Only one heir property owner can submit a homestead exemption application for the property. If you are an heir property owner and have relatives who also inherited the property AND also occupy the property as their principal residence, those relatives must provide an affidavit that authorizes you to submit the application. Use Form 50-114-A.   

Can I get the full homestead exemption if there are multiple heirs?

As of 2020, heir property owners can access 100% of the homestead exemption and related tax protections on their homestead, even when there are co-owners of the property. Prior to 2020, heir property owners could only access a portion of the homestead exemption if there were other heirs.   

If you are an heir property owner receiving only a partial homestead exemption, you must submit an updated exemption application with the appraisal district designating the property as heir property in order to qualify for 100% of the exemption. You will need to submit both Form 50-114 and Form 50-114-A.

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