Q: How do we go about selling a house as remaindermen from a life estate.
My stepmother recently passed away. My father had granted her a life estate for his house, with the remainder interest to be divided between my sister, myself, and my stepmother's daughter. What is the process that we now need to go through to sell the house and divide the proceeds. The lawyer who did my father's will is now retired. Do we need to hire a lawyer to handle this process? Would there be a deed on file somewhere with the names of the remaindermen?
You and your co-heirs need to know what the County record/Registrar of Deeds shows where the real estate is situated. If that record shows the grant from your father to step-mother, remainder to you and heirs, it is probably sufficient to file/record a Certificate of Death of your step-mom.
Any future transfer of the property from you and co-heirs will necessitate that the record of title with the County is in order, i.e., that you have the right to transfer the property (to satisfy title insurance requirements and to give a warranty deed).
My best guess is that there is no deed from father showing life estate and remainder to you et al. And probably the probated Will is not yet recorded.
Because the real estate records are required to be perfect, or nearly so, I recommend that you engage a lawyer whose practice includes such issues to help you achieve your goals.
A: Your answer will depend on how the life estate was created. If by Deed, then the Deed will be recorded at the county Recorder of Deeds Office and you may need as little as a death certificate and a new deed. If by Will, then will have to open an Estate Administration and the executor of the Estate will have to take steps to prepare a new Deed, make sure PA Inheritance Taxes are paid, etc.. You will most likely want to hire an experienced PA attorney to assist in properly transferring the property.
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