How to handle a small estate?

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How to handle a small estate?

My father died in the past year and left everything to my mother in his Will. He had no debts and their only asset is their home. The home is in both his and my mother’s name. Mom is now ready to sell their home to help in paying assisted living expenses. Do we need to have dad’s Will probated in order to have the house put in mom’s name only or can we file a muniment of title and proceed from there? What would the next step be after filing the muniment of title?

Asked on January 17, 2012 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The first thing that you need to do is carefully read the deed to the family home to determine if legal title is held in joint tenancy between your mother and deceased father. It should read something like "[name of father] and [name of mother] as joint tenants with the rights of survivorship."

If title is something like the above then title is in joint tenancy and your mother now owns the home as a matter of law in its entirety. What needs to be done is to get a certified copy of your father's death certificate and attach it to an "affidavit of surviving joint tenant" and have your mother sign this document before a notary public. Once done, go to the county recorder's office to record it.

If the property is in joint tenancy, there is no need to probate the Will of your father to transfer title to the home to your mother.

I suggest that you consult with a Wills and trust attorney to have him or her review the deed to the home to determine if the deed is a joint tenancy deed between your father and mother.


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