What happens to a home when the only deed holder passes away without a Will?

UPDATED: Dec 2, 2012

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What happens to a home when the only deed holder passes away without a Will?

My father died before telling me what, if anything, he had in order for when he died. I was already living with him at the property and am totally in a bad spot as I have nowhere else to go. I’m his only child and he was not married when he died.

Asked on December 2, 2012 under Estate Planning, Texas


Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You will inherit his property.  However, at some point, you will need to transfer title into your name.  How you do this depends on your state's laws.  In Florida, a full probate would be necessary but some states have summary procedures.

If the property has a mortgage, that will have to be paid or the mortgage company will institute foreclosure proceedings.  If you pay the mortgage (even if it is in your father's name), they probably will not question or do anything.  If you do not, they will take action.

If your father had debts when he died, his creditors may try to collect the debts.  They have the right to open an estate to collect those debts but may do nothing.

What you do at this point depends on what assets your father had other than the home, what debts he had, what action his creditors take to collect the debts.  So long as you pay the bills for the home and your father's creditors do not open an estate, you can likely continue to live in the home without changing anything.  Eventually, you will need to transfer title. 

If you start getting notices from your father's creditors that they will sue him or open an estate, then you must consult a lawyer.  At that point, things will be a really big mess if you do not have legal advice on how to handle it.  Good luck.

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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