Does it take a legal proceeding to put property solely under my mother’s name following the death of my step-father?

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Does it take a legal proceeding to put property solely under my mother’s name following the death of my step-father?

My step-father died last week. He and my mother own a home together and she wants to have his name removed from the loan/deed (not yet paid for in full.) Same thing for their 2 cars (both in their names). Does this have to be done through court, or would you think it’s a matter of filing the correct paperwork/death certificate with the loan companies?

Asked on November 17, 2010 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  If the properties were held with "rights of survivorship" which is generally how property is held between a husband and a wife, then it passes by "operation of law" from one to the other upon the other's death.  If she is insistent on having the title to the property re-issued in her name only then I would suggest that you get legal help in your area.  I would not re-do a deed yourself.  You may not have to probate his estate unless there are other items that are not jointly held.  Now, issuing new title or deed to property is a very different thing than removing someone from a loan.  That has to be done through re-financing the properties.  and that you should be careful about.  The loans may be called in if the provider is afraid that your Mom may not be able to pay them alone  Get help.  Good luck.


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