Q: Is there any way to tranfer a deed after death without probate?
My father died 3 years ago and we just recently found out that only his name was on the deed to my parents house (he inherited it back in the early 80s) My mother had early dementia and I guess there were some things she didnt take care of after his death. The only "estate" he left was the home and land it is on with an estimated value of 38000. His vehicles were sold to cover funeral costs, etc.
A: From what you've said, you will have to do at least some amount of work with the probate court. However, there is a simplified proceeding called a Determination of Descent. It is much easier than the traditional probate preceding, and it is commonly used in situations like this. I would recommend you find an attorney that will help for a a flat fee.
Nina Whitehurst agrees with this answer
A: There are several procedures that might apply to a situation in which a decedent leaves a spouse and one or more (presumably) adult children.
1. Refusal to grant letters sidesteps formal probate in the event that the size of the estate is less than the spousal allowance. The real estate would be transferred. If the total value of the estate is in the range of $50,000, this is an option that should be explored with an attorney. This might be the least cost solution on average.
2. Informal Administration provides for a little more structure than refusal and does not have financial limits, but again allows for a simple process to facilitate transfer that does or formally open an estate.
3. Determination of descent is a common procedure that is available if no estate was opened in the first six months after the decedent passes. The property is determined by order to transfer to the heirs at law or pursuant to a valid settlement agreement among all persons with an interest in the estate.
In most instances, a simple settlement agreement (arrived at with the assistance of an attorney) may smooth the way towards the best and lowest cost option.
If one person has diminished capacity that would make it difficult or impossible for him or her to enter into an agreement, then it may be more complicated to enter into an agreement or have a settlement that distributes the assets in a way that gives that person less than he or she might be entitled to without an agreement. An attorney would help you to sort out the options. Also, if a person suffering dementia is now or in the future eligible for Medicaid, transfers without adequate value could affect his or her eligibility. You should obtain legal counsel to help you sort out the options.
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