Miami, FL asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Florida

Q: Does my aunt need a lawyer to transfer title to a property when both the previous owners (her parents) are deceased?

My aunt has lived in her home for 50+ years. She was the caregiver for her mom who passed away a few years ago. She wants to sell the property, but the title deed is still in her parent's name.

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3 Lawyer Answers
Richard Paul Zaretsky
Richard Paul Zaretsky
Answered
  • West Palm Beach, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Not only does she need an attorney, she probably needs to take some action to probate the last to die of her mother or father. Without either her name on the existing deed as a survivor beneficiary, or an order of the court giving her authority to deed the property, there is no one authorized to sign the documents to sell the property.

This was a matter that should have been taken care of a while ago - and now it is an issue.

Lauren Nagel Richardson
Lauren Nagel Richardson
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Gainesville, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: If the property was owned by her parents as husband and wife, then she will need to open an estate of the last parent to die and seek a court order determining homestead status, which will transfer the property to the heirs just like a deed. This will require her to hire a probate attorney. If this is the only asset to be transferred, and the property was her parents' homestead, then she would likely be able to file for summary administration, which is a simpler estate process and should be able to be completed quickly and economically. Our office handles summary administration statewide for a flat fee. Your aunt is welcome to call our office for a free phone consultation to discuss in greater detail what would be involved in transferring the property.

Vincent Gallo
Vincent Gallo
Answered

A: Your aunt does not need a lawyer to represent her, provided that she can competently and adequately represent herself. I would not count on it however.

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