Q: Can my stepmom step down as personal representative and allow me the heir be the new personal rep?
Only the house is left in the estate which is keeping probate open. We are looking to do a Lady bird deed, but she doesn't want the house at all in her name. She has her own house and only wants 1 house in her name. Can we transfer the ownership from the personal representative to me, and let me go forward with the lady bird deed to put it into my name. I've been living in the house for 18 years, and paying the bills and taxes since 2009. The house is in my dad's name and he still has a mortgage that I've been paying for.
A: If she is the personal representative and has some interest in the house through the will, she could simply disclaim the interest to the house, deed the property to you, and close the probate. I don't think you would need a ladybird deed for the purposes of your father's estate unless your stepmother wanted an interest in the house so she could possibly sell it at some point. If she wants nothing from the house it should be possible to deed it to you and close the estate. You will need representation to work out the details.
This is potentially a FAR more complicated situation, but if ultimately everyone agrees that you should have the home, there are ways to accomplish this. The trick is to do it in a way that both doesn't have huge tax implications, and also doesn't run afoul of the 'due on sale' clause in the mortgage which might force you to sell or even lose the house!
The details are critical, and I would be remiss if I didn't quickly add 'seek local legal help' to insure you don't end up causing more problems than you solve, but I concur that 'ladybird' deeds are not likely your best solution here. There are ways to disclaim an inheritance, and there are ways to transfer the home once the inheritance has completed, and all of them are better than a 'ladybird' deed (an enhanced, retained interest, life estate) at this point.
If all of this terminology has your head swimming, it is an indication that you need help guiding through this to insure things are both done 'right' and that you don't have bigger issues than you started with at the end. Seek local legal help!
--This answer is offered for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney/client relationship. I am licensed to practice in Michigan only. Please seek competent local legal help if you feel you need legal advice!
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