Q: My daughter left no will but had made me beneficiary of all she had. Do I need to go to court for anything?
Her bank accts, life insurance and house were all under both our names
Bank and life insurance should pass through beneficiary designation by providing to the relevant institutions a certified death certificate and your credentials.
Assuming that the house was held in joint tenancy, You will need to file AFFIDAVIT - DEATH OF JOINT TENANT, a Preliminary Change in Ownership (PCOR), and provide a certified death certificate.
If the house was held by your daughter as an individual, or as tenants in common, most likely you will need to hire a probate attorney.
A: If you are on all of your mother’s bank accounts either as co-owner or beneficiary, then you only need to take an original death certificate to those banks to change the accounts to be in your name alone. Life insurance companies will pay the named beneficiary, but some insurance companies require beneficiaries to make a claim for benefits. Houses are the only thing that may or may not need to go through the probate court before you can inherit them; it all depends on how the house is titled. If the house title is in joint tenancy, you need not go to court. Otherwise, you may need to go to court. Title to real estate is a public record, so go to the county recorder of the county in which the real estate is located (or call a realtor in that county) to get a copy of the deed, then you’ll have a better idea of what needs to be done. Best wishes!
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