Atlanta, GA asked in Probate and Real Estate Law for Georgia

Q: What do we do when my husband's name is on his mother's deed?

We have been living in my husband's family home for five years. His mother passed away two years ago. His father nine years. He is disabled and can not read. Recently, we have discovered that it is his name on the deeds along with his mother and not his father's. We were considering buying the place out and now we do not know what to do.

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3 Lawyer Answers
Ben F Meek III
Ben F Meek III
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Oklahoma City, OK

A: I understand your situation to be this: Your husband and his late mother are the Grantees in the Deed to the property you both live in. If your husband and his mother are shown on the Deed as owning the property as "Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship" or closely similar language, all your husband may need to do is complete and record an Affidavit of Termination of Joint Tenancy or whatever the state calls their version of such a document. In it, the surviving Joint Tenant swears under oath as to the death of the other owner and attaches a certified copy of the death certificate and records it in the land records of the county where the property is. This notifies the world that one of the two owners has died leaving the other owner as the sole owner.

In the meantime, your husband, assuming he is of sound mind and competent to do so, can Deed the property to himself and you (presumably as Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship so as to establish that the survivor of the two of you would at that time be the sole owner). All of this assumes there are no other co-owners or other problems with title. If your husband and his late mother do not own the property as JTWROS, then his mother's Will or intestate estate will have to go through probate proceedings in order to pass title to her interest in the property.

Take your deed and consult an experienced probate or real estate lawyer in your state. Many offer free initial consultations. And feel free to get second opinions. Good luck.

PS: My comments here are to provide general information and not to give legal advice about your specific situation nor do they establish an attorney-client relationship between us. Contact a lawyer in your state about your particular situation for legal advice.

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John W. Chambers Jr
John W. Chambers Jr
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Licensed in Georgia

A: If real property is owned in Georgia by two people as joint tenants with survivorship, upon the death of the joint owner to die first, the property would be owned by the surviving joint owner. In such case, standard practice in Georgia would be to file an affidavit with the Clerk of the Superior Court of the county in which the property is located regarding the property and the death of the joint owner. On the other hand, if the property is owned by two people as tenants in common, the interest of the first owner to die would pass into his or her probate estate. If the deceased co-owner had a will, the interest of such person would pass pursuant to the provisions of the will. If the deceased owner died intestate (i.e., without a will), the interest of such person would pass to the heirs (as provided in the applicable Georgia statute). I recommend that you consult with a probate attorney, who can advise you based on a review of the pertinent facts.

Robert W. Hughes Jr.
Robert W. Hughes Jr.
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Lawrenceville, GA
  • Licensed in Georgia

A: You need to have a lawyer review the deed to determine whether the home belongs to your husband aline or with his mother. Deeds are very specific.

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