Can I file an executor’s deed or other deed to put my parent’s house, which is listed in my late father’s name, into my mother’s name without probate?

My father died with a Will, and my mother is the beneficiary and executor. We’ve been able to take care of everything without doing probate court – joint bank accounts, etc. It’s been really simple so far. Unfortunately, when I checked out the deed to their house (no mortgage, they bought it years ago), I saw that it only has my father’s name on it (guess they just put stuff in the man’s name back then, although her name was on the mortgage papers for the house). My mother is ill and blind, so I’m trying to handle changing the deed into her name without having to take her into all the hassles of probate.

Asked on October 10, 2014 under Estate Planning, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Please speak with an attorney in your area on this matter. I can tell you that in the state of New York, it has been long standing law that real property "devolves" at the moment of death directly to the statutory distributees, legatees, or heirs at law without any necessary action on their part. And thus property can be transferred by this group of heirs with out the necessity of probate.  Now, because the property was in Dad's name alone, had he died intestate it would have gone to your Mom as spouse and the kids equally (but not less than 1/3 of the entire estate to your Mom). See if it is possible for you and your Mom to transfer the property via Heir at Law deed to your Mom alone or maybe even seek consultation about placing the property in a Trust or other form of estate planning vehicle.  Good luck.


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