I have had a number of calls lately from people who had a death in the family and need to clear title to real estate. However, the death wasn’t last week or last month… and in one case not even last decade. In many cases there is no rush to clear title through a probate Court action. Mom dies, the person is living in the house for free, so what could go wrong….
Well, the problem is there will come a day when you want to sell, re-finance, or do your own estate planning. To do this you will need to have already cleared mom’s name off the house and for this you need to take action in the probate Court. However, what if YOU die before this is done? Will your spouse get your share? Will your child? Will your long lost HALF brother who you never met get your share? Or, and read this carefully if you were ever divorced and have bad feelings for your ex… will your kids get your share but their evil mom (or dad) who is your ex-spouse get control? All of these are possibilities and then some….
The key is organizing your affairs! Before you can finish organizing your affairs you need to make sure that mom’s affairs have been cleaned up and taken care of!
There are a whole host of probate options that I can explain to you depending on the value of the property. Additionally, there are other factors beyond the value of the property which we will discuss: control of the estate, dealing with creditors and taxes, creating a smooth sale, etc…. Each option has pros and cons and I can explain these to you based on your particular case. There are too many variables to list here.
In many cases it is the small cases (under $100,000) that have the most options. What seems like the obvious choice may not be once other factors are looked at. Talk to a probate attorney and learn what your options are!