Q: mother passed: house w/ mortgage, land, CD's a insurance policies no beneficiary. no will, do I petition probate?
I have 3 siblings. Do we need to petition probate? We just want names added to deeds joint tenancy, and everything in equal shares: life insurance payouts, cd's, property ownership etc.
A: I cannot speak to your specific situation without reviewing the deed, account information, etc. In general when a person dies and their name is the only name on an asset (such as the deed or a CD) and further where there is no beneficiary named, then a probate is required in order to transfer title to those assets. If there was a co-owner or a payable on death beneficiary, then there would be no assets in the deceased's name and probate would not be needed. The basic function of probate is to transfer assets from the name of a deceased person to the proper heirs. When a person dies without a Will, a probate is still necessary in order to pass title to those assets (and to handle debts of the estate). You would probably be well served consulting with an attorney in your area about a potential probate administration. Even if you need to pay a consultation fee, it would be worth the peace of mind in knowing what to do next. Further, an attorney may be able to advise you on probate alternatives (and whether you can use these depend on the size and type of the specific assets).
As for any life insurance policy, the proceeds are paid to the named beneficiary. If there is no named beneficiary, the terms of the policy will typically govern where those proceeds go. Most of the time the "default" beneficiary is the probate estate of the owner of that policy.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.