Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for California

Q: Mom lived in house 50+yrs & paid off original mortgage in her mom's name. She has 3 siblings, who owns it?

Grandmother died in 1970's. There was no probate. Her siblings want to sell the house now to split cash for retirement, but she does not want to leave. Can they force my mom to move and sell? Who owns the house? Unknown if there is a will or who's name is on the title of the house.

2 Lawyer Answers
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN
  • Licensed in California

A: It is not possible to answer your questions without more information. This will probably require some kind of probate procedure to get the title out of your grandmother's name and into the names of her heirs. Who those heirs are depends on facts that have not been stated. Your best bet is to hire a probate attorney to help you finally wrap up your grandmother's estate.

Gerald Barry Dorfman and James Edward Berge agree with this answer

Chris M. Bradford
Chris M. Bradford
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Santa Monica, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The first step is to look at the deed to the house. Whose name is it in? Is it in your grandmother's name or your grandmother and someone else? That will make a big difference. It could be in "Joint Tenancy" or "Community Property" or just in your grandmother's name. The property cannot be sold if the person or persons whose name(s) it is in have passed away. It must go to court to change the name of the owner. That process is called "Probate". The first step is to look for a will or trust signed by your grandmother. The second step is to get a copy of the deed to the house. This is public information and a realtor can help you get this. The third step is to take this information to estate planning or probate attorney to have it evaluated. There IS an answer to your question. Even if you can't find a will, something can be done. The judge can order the house sold and the net proceeds divided up among the heirs.

When you ask a question online, like here, the answers you get are only going to be basic information, a starting point. Attorneys are trained to talk to you to find out all the important details of your story. Getting all the details is very important because it will make a big difference in the legal information given to you. It is strongly recommended that even if you get a response here on Justia, that you also talk to an attorney. Many have free first interviews. Even if you have to pay, it is worth it because you talking to a professional who is going to focus on you.

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.