Real Estate Probate

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Real Estate Probate

The only property my mother owns is a house which is registered in the estate of my deceased father. My mother and I were the only joint heirs of my fathers estate. Is it better to transfer title into may name before she dies or wait till after her death. I want to avoid probate and limit my tax burden. Also I have thought about selling the property while she is still alive. I understand her tax liablility would be limited due to her advanced age then put money in joint accoount therefore avoiding probate

Asked on May 24, 2009 under Estate Planning, Mississippi

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

This is a complicated situation, and if you try to work this through without hiring a lawyer to give you sound advice, based on all of the facts, you are taking some very serious risks.

You haven't said so, exactly, but it sounds as if you are handling your late father's estate, as the personal representative, but it isn't clear that you've gotten any official confirmation of that.  This is not a good idea, if it's true.

Whether or not you've gotten letters of administration or anything like that, as the person in charge of the estate, you have what is called a fiduciary responsibility, which in simple english means you cannot use what is best for you as the way you make decisions on what to do.  You have to follow the law, and that may mean doing what is best for your mother and not for you.

Please don't think that your mother will go along with whatever you say.  It isn't necessarily so, and there are elder law advocates who might step in -- it has happened many times before!  If you've done something wrong, or even just mistakenly, it will be taken out of your personal pocket, not the estate, and there might even be other unpleasant consequences.

You need to get an attorney, I think, and the sooner the better.  One place you can find qualified lawyers is our website, http://attorneypages.com


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