If You Inherit a House, Act. A Cautionary Tale About Putting Off Probate

Image of part of a house on a cliff near a fog covered body of water. Captioned: Real Estate Inheritance, A Cautionary Tale About Putting Off Probate.
A Cautionary Tale About Putting Off Probate

Five years ago in Texas, John died, willing his house to a nephew, A.W.

Today, A.W. wants to get ready to sell the house, and pay off some debt.

Here’s the rub. The will never went through probate, and a different relative of John’s has been living in the home all this time.

Who gets the house?

A.W. was named as the next owner in the will, and never refused the deed. So, legally, A.W. owns it, right? Wrong. Procrastination is the thief of assets, as A.W. learned the hard way. A will does not enact itself. It has to be probated according to a timeline. 

Continue reading “If You Inherit a House, Act. A Cautionary Tale About Putting Off Probate”

When a Spouse, Partner, or Relative Dies: What’s Next for the Home?

Image of a woman that looks sad standing next to a window inside a home. Captioned: Real Estate and Death.
Real Estate and Death

Homes are complicated assets. When a homeowner dies, this becomes obvious. When loved ones are experiencing grief and loss, the real estate details can border on overwhelming.

If someone in your life died holding an interest in real estate, here is some general guidance. You might have some actions to take, depending on the situation.

Continue reading “When a Spouse, Partner, or Relative Dies: What’s Next for the Home?”

Your Real Estate and Probate

Image of a small house with trees behind and a large yard in front. Captioned: Your Real Estate and Probate

When a person dies, the property owned by the deceased person—alone, or in the names of the deceased and another person without survivorship rights—finds its way to the county probate court.

If the deceased person co-owned property, and the living co-owner holds a right of survivorship, probate is not an issue for the real estate. The asset passes to the surviving owner upon presentation of a certified copy of the former owner’s death certificate. In other words, the surviving co-owner absorbs the share of the person who has died.

Yet many people die as the sole owners of real estate, which then becomes probate property.

Continue reading “Your Real Estate and Probate”

Probate Creditors’ Rights Under Texas Law

Probate Creditors' Rights Under Texas Law

Paying off the decedent’s debts is one of the primary duties of an estate’s executor or administrator. Failing to do this can lead to personal liability on the executor or administrator’s part. The estate’s creditors have rights under Texas probate law, but all are time-sensitive. If estate assets are limited, whether the creditor receives reimbursement depends on the nature of the debt.

Continue reading “Probate Creditors’ Rights Under Texas Law”

Probate and Sale of Real Property in West Virginia

Probate is the legal process of settling a decedent’s estate and distributing property to those entitled to receive it. This involves authenticating a testator’s will upon his or her death and transferring property to the named beneficiaries, or, if the decedent dies without leaving a will, determining the decedent’s legal heirs. Probate ensures that, by complying with state law, clear and marketable title passes to devisees or heirs at law.

Continue reading “Probate and Sale of Real Property in West Virginia”

Transferring Real Property from a Probate Estate in Vermont

When a person dies, her debts and assets become part of her estate and are subject to a legal process called probate. “Probate” means to prove the validity of a will, but the primary objectives of probating an estate are settling the estate’s debts and distributing the remaining assets to beneficiaries according to the terms of the decedent’s will. A will is insufficient to pass title to real property unless it has been proved in a Vermont probate court (14 V.S.A. 101). If a decedent dies intestate (without a valid will), her estate is distributed in accordance with Vermont’s laws of descent and distribution, codified at 14 V.S.A. 301, et seq.

Continue reading “Transferring Real Property from a Probate Estate in Vermont”

Transferring a Decedent’s Real Property in South Dakota

What happens to your assets when you die? Depending on how your property is titled, they become part of your estate, and are subject to administration in probate. Probate is the legal process of settling a decedent’s estate and distributing assets to those designated to receive them, whether through devise by will or by laws of intestate succession.

Continue reading “Transferring a Decedent’s Real Property in South Dakota”