Is a signature needed by a next of kin to sell property of a deceased owner?

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Is a signature needed by a next of kin to sell property of a deceased owner?

My grandfather just passed away recently. His house was in the names of his 2 daughters; 1 passed away several years ago. Is a signature needed by the deceased daughter’s next of kin to sell the property?

Asked on December 28, 2011 under Estate Planning, West Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your losses.  Whether or not any signatures or additional probate for the deceased daughter is needed depends on how the property was held legally.  Your grandfather had what seems to be a life estate in the property, meaning that he was permitted to live in the house until he died and then it passed to the two daughters upon his death, or if this was not the "legal" case, he just lived there until his death with the house legally belonging to his daughters (the deed).  How the daughters held the property, however, is what counts here.  If they held the property "with rights of survivorship"  then when one of the daughters passed away the other inherited the property automatically and then it did not pass to the deceased daughters estate.  If they did not hold it with rights of survivorship but strictly as joint tenants then the deceased daughter's share passed to her family and it would need to be probated.  You need some legal help in your area to help answer some open questions.  Good luck.  


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