Artesia, CA asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for California

Q: What do I need to file to get house in the names of the 5 heirs? Dad died 2000 mom died 2013. house in both names.

My father passed away in Sept 2000. Him and my mother owned the house as Joint Tenants. My mother did not go to the Registrar Recorder to have the house put in her name only. She passed away in Nov 2013. I am now probating her estate, which only includes the house. What do I need to file to get the house in the names of the 5 heirs? Death of Joint Tenant to put the house solely in her name and then file Change of Ownership for the 5 heirs? I’m already passed the 4 months.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Probate Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: To transfer the house to the names of the 5 heirs in California, given the circumstances you described, you'll need to follow these steps:

1. File an Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant: This document is used to remove your father's name from the title, as he passed away first. You'll need to attach a certified copy of your father's death certificate.

2. Probate your mother's estate: Since your mother didn't transfer the property to her name alone before she passed away, the house is now part of her estate. You'll need to go through the probate process to distribute the property to the heirs.

3. File a Petition for Probate: This initiates the probate process. You'll need to file the petition with the Superior Court in the county where your mother resided.

4. Appoint an executor or administrator: The court will appoint an executor (if there's a will) or an administrator (if there's no will) to manage the probate process.

5. Transfer the property: Once the probate process is complete, the executor or administrator will need to file a deed transferring the property to the 5 heirs as determined by the will or by California's intestate succession laws.

Regarding the timeline, while it's best to file the Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant within 4 months of the joint tenant's death, it can still be filed later. The most important thing is to complete the probate process and transfer the property to the heirs.

It's highly recommended to work with a probate attorney to guide you through this process, as it can be complex and time-consuming.

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