If my mom passed away without a Will, what should we do about her property?

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If my mom passed away without a Will, what should we do about her property?

My mom passed about a month ago. She owned one house and a truck, both are paid for. There are a totally of 6 kids and we all agree that my youngest brother should get the house and truck. He has also agreed to pay her credit card bills which total about $13,000. What do we need to do to put the house and truck in his name and do we have to go through probate?

Asked on November 14, 2011 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

When it comes to taking care of property issues after someone has passed away, probate is generally a good resolution.  Not all probates have to be difficult.  If everything is agreed on, then it's really a simple matter of filing the petition for probate and getting a judge to approve the dissolution.  You also want to have any heirs sign off on the agreement so that title to the property is not later clouded.  Another option would be to file an affidavit of heirship.  This gives the affiant the authority to make decisions regarding the estate.  However, because you are dealing with 6 kids, you will still want agreements regarding the disposition of the estate.  How these items are disposed of and documented can also affect the potential tax liabilities of all 6 kids.  If you can do the leg work (like getting deeds and titles together), you can probably get a probate attorney to draft up the required documentation for a reasonable price.


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