If you cannot find deeds or records of an estate settlement for your ancestor, look for a partition suit. These suits were filed usually when the heirs could not agree on how a farm or piece of real estate could be equitably partitioned out amongst the heirs. These court cases will be filed in the county courthouse with other court records.
They typically show how the deceased obtained their property, when they died, and who their heirs were. All are good clues for the genealogist.
I always look for partitions, but they can be particularly interesting if a relative died with no descendants. That's when all the relatives come out of the woodwork.