Q: Does tenancy in common require probate in KS?
My ex husband died in 2016 with no will, leaving a home that I believed to be titled as joint tenancy, but which I've learned is worded as tenancy in common. I've lived in, paid all taxes on, maintained and improved the home by myself for the last 28 years since we divorced, and wish to remain in the house. My ex's wife at the time of his death wants my ex's share of the property. Now that it's 3 yrs after the death, is that a probate matter or is it too late for her to file? Does she still have a claim, and if so via what means? Are there any legal avenues available to me to gain sole ownership?
A: You might start by reviewing your divorce decree. If the property division gave you sole ownership of the house (subject to any mortgages, etc.) but the decree wasn’t recorded in the land records, all you may need to do is record it to be the sole owner (or you may have to sue to quiet title). Also, even if the decree kept you both as Co Tenants you should ask a Kansas real estate or probate lawyer about whether you have a homestead interest in the property. This would mean that you would be entitled to possess and live in the house until you die. You would have to maintain it in good condition and pay the taxes, etc. Have an experienced lawyer review your divorce decree and your deed to the property. Many offer free initial consultations. Good luck.
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