What do we need to have my brother-in-law removed from the title to our house?

My husband and I are trying to refinance our home but there are 3 names on the title – my husband, myself and my late brother-in-law. What steps do we need to take to have him removed off the title?

Asked on September 2, 2017 under Estate Planning, Louisiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, the loan company is essentially correct: you need confirmation that he is no longer on the title and therefore that the two of you are the sole owners. This should be relatively simple--involve some paperwork and a little time, but pose no serious challenges--if you and he owned the house as "joint tenants with right of survivorship" (JTWROS), which means that when one of the "tenants" (owners) dies, his share or interest in the home automatically goes to the others: i.e. to your husband and you. But if you and he owned the home as "tenants in common," his 1/3 interest in or share of the house would become part of his estate and then go to whomever would inherit from him--to whomever he left it via will, if he had a will; or if no will, to his spouse he had one, and/or his children, if he had any, or to his sibling(s). Therefore, if the house was owned as tenants in common, his share may well go to someone else, unless there was no will leaving it to another, no wife, no children, and no siblings other than your brother. Get a copy of the title and bring to a probate attorney to review with you, to see what your rights are and what you next step is. Again, if you and he owned as JTWROS, you should be able to get confirmation of your ownership and that he is off the title fairly easily from the court, but otherwise, you may have to wait until his estate is probated *and* buy is interest from anyone else who inherited.


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