What to do about joint estates?

UPDATED: Dec 4, 2013

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What to do about joint estates?

My mother died 5 1/2 years ago. Her Will was never probated but left her assets to my father. He died 7 months later but his Will has been probated. I have contract to sell his only asset, our family home. Can I honor a contract to sell with just my father’s Will probated and divide money to siblings as stated in our father’s Will?

Asked on December 4, 2013 under Estate Planning, Georgia


Nathan Wagner / Law Office of Nathan Wagner

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The answer depends on what is written on the deed that granted title to your parents. If the deed says that they took title as joint tenants, tenants-by-the-entirety, or with right of survivorship, then the home automatically passed to your father when your mother died. No probate was necessary. But if the deed says they took title as tenants-in-common, then her estate would need to be probated. 

For you to sell the home, you will need to have the probate court appoint you as personal representative or executor of your father's estate. You can then sell the home and divide the money according to the will. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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