What to do if someone dies without a Will and owes out of state property?

Our father, a widower, died without a Will a couple years ago. There was not much of an estate. No car or house but we did just locate 2 out of state land warranty deeds (2 different states) . The deeds have only our father and mother’s names as joint tenants with right of survivorship, no beneficiaries. We, their children, want to keep the land and paying the property taxes if the process and the costs involved make sense.

Asked on February 15, 2013 under Estate Planning, Michigan


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Regardless of whether you are going to sell or keep the property, you should consider filing a probate of your father's estate in the county where he regularly resided (called his domicile).  With the probate, the property would officially be changed to your names.  This would make it easier to pay taxes or sell the property.  Visit with a probate attorney to help you complete the paperwork.  If everyone is in agreement, it will make the process cheaper and easier on everyone.  Make sure that you consult with a probate attorney-- especially considering that you have multi-state issues.  Probate tends to be a very procedure oriented law and to insure that your titles are correctly changed, you will want an attorney that is familiar with the procedures in your state and the state where the property is located. 

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