Q: At what point during probate process can deceased persons name be removed from deed for joint-owned property
The deceased did not have a will and died four years ago but the estate was just opened in January.
A: Record a certified copy of the decedent with the Registrar of Deeds in the county in which the property is located, and any subsequent title search will show the property as owned by the surviving joint tenant.
If the real estate was jointly owned by two people as "joint tenants with the right of survivorship" or as "tenants by the entirety", then the real estate is considered to be a "non-probate" asset, and will not be controlled or affected by the Will. So at any time, you could have an attorney prepare a new deed transferring the real estate from the names of the two joint owners to the name of the surviving owner.
(Note: if the real estate is owned by a married couple, and is silent as to the type of ownership, then it is as "tenants by the entirety" by default.)
(Also note, inheritance tax may need to be paid on the transfer of the property, depending on how the joint owners were related; discuss this with the attorney who prepares the new deed and they can advise you further.)
(For the purposes of this question, I assume the real estate is not held by the owners as "tenants in common"; if it is, then the Will will control what happens to the deceased person's divisible share of the real estate.)
Michael Cherewka agrees with this answer
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