Q: Can I get legal ownership of my deceased mother's home?
My mother has been deceased for 10 years and my family (spouse & children) and I have lived in her home since before her death and have continued to pay all upkeep and property taxes on the home. (The house if paid off, there is no mortgage and no insurance.) I do have other siblings.
Is there a way to legally gain ownership on the house without going through probate? (After going through a recent hurricane, I need to replace the roof, etc. on the home and would like to get a home equity loan to do so.)
A: Probate administration will be required to transfer the home to the heirs. You need to consult with an experienced probate attorney who may also be able to do what is called formal administration with partition inside the estate, so that you may receive credit for the expenses that you have paid for the last 10 years. The other option is to do summary administration since your mother died more that 2 years ago. However, if you do summary administration, then the judge will sign a homestead order listing all the heirs, and you would then either need to do partition outside the estate or have the other heirs sign quitclaim deeds to you. If you have any concern that the other heirs will not sign quitclaim deeds, then I recommend that you do formal administration with partition inside the estate. That is the only way I know that you can receive credit for the expenses you have paid and receive either all of the property out of the estate in your name or a portion greater than the share than you would receive as an heir at law.
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A: Short answer, no. By law you are not the only heir you and your siblings are the likely heirs. You may want to make an arrangement with the other heirs to buy their share or have them give you their share, then seek a probate.
Best suggestion is to hire a probate / real estate attorney in your area to assist you.
A: These other attorneys have it right, you'll need to probate the estate. Our firm offers free consultations.
A: Sorry to say, you will need to probate your Mother's Estate to pass title to her home. Hopefully your siblings will recognize your contribution to caring for your Mother and her home over the past 10 years and either disclaim their interest in the home so you can have it or deed it to you following the probate. Sadly, family members are not always generous, but it would not hurt to propose it to them. You will need to get title to the property to take a loan or get insurance, so if you plan to stay there, you will need to proceed with filing the probate. There may be other recourse for the care and upkeep of the home, but you will want to start with the probate first. Best of Luck! Jennifer
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