What to do if my mom died without a valid Will?

She has a house which she owes more for than it is worth. She has a car that is worth $1,000 and $500 worth of household furniture. If the bank would accept the key to take back the house, could I do a release from administration since the car is worth only $1,000?

Asked on June 11, 2014 under Estate Planning, Ohio


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  You mean, then, that she died "intestate" and the intestacy statute in Ohio will apply.  Generally speaking, where real property is involved you must actually go through probate, even if that property is under water. What you are considering with the house is a tricky thing.  Generally a bank will take back a house if it is in foreclosure (called a deed in lieu of foreclosure) but that is not the case here.  You may want to consider a short sale (with bank approval and waiving their right to take a deficiency judgement.  You are going to need help here.  Good luck.

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