Where should probate take place – where the deceased died or where theyowned real property?

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Where should probate take place – where the deceased died or where theyowned real property?

House in TX is being purchased by third party (owner financing) who is in default. Wife lives in CA and is not on mortgage. Wife retained attorney in TX 6 months ago but attorney just dropped the case saying probate should be handled where I (sister) lives which is also in TX. Brother died in WA. He had no will and no children. Is this right and who owns the house?   

Asked on June 12, 2011 under Estate Planning, Washington

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  If your Brother did not leave a Will then his estate will pass by intestacy, meaning that how it is divided will be decided by reading the intestacy statute in the state in which he resided at the time of his death. Now, there are a few facts here you left out.  One, was his Wife on the deed?  If yes then the property probably passed to her automatically ("by operation of law") when your Brother died.  As for the probate, you have to Probate his estate not only in Washington but in Texas, where the property is located.  It is known as an Ancillary Probate.  And the intestacy laws in Texas will apply to that property, not the laws in Washington State.  Get legal help here.  Good luck.


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