My Iowa mother died without a signed Will. She and my father jointly own a farm with a mortgage.

The farm is titled as Tenants in Common, not Joint Tenancy. The car is titled in her name.Do we need to go through probate, and if we do can we do it without a lawyer? Also, does the bank have a right make us sell the farm to pay the mortgage, because debts must be paid from an estate? We can continue to make the mortgage payments (somebody else farms the land and pays rent).

Asked on June 6, 2009 under Estate Planning, Iowa

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Usually, with tenants in common, this what happens:

M = mom

D = dad

Mom and Dad are tenants in common, which means they each own the portion they own -- let's say in this instance it is 50/50.  It could be a different ratio, too.

So, Mom dies, her mom goes through intestate -- which in many states means it goes to her surviving spouse in whole or a portion to her spouse and a portion to her surviving children. Usually, anything outside of a trust goes through probate (even a will). In terms of a car, it goes through intestate as I mentioned above. You are best to do this through a lawyer.

Try www.attorneypages.com and then check his or he record at the Iowa State Bar.


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