What can I do to get title of inherited property in my wife’s name?

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What can I do to get title of inherited property in my wife’s name?

My wife’s aunt died. Her last request was that, if her daughter/granddaughter didn’t occupy the house, that it goes to my wife (her mother, the sister, is witness to this claim) and that family keep the property. Neither daughter nor granddaughter occupy the property, and it is in disrepair, with over 2 years taxes owed on the estate. There is no mortgage on the property. I don’t want to pay the taxes, only to have the daughter or granddaughter suddenly decide that they want to inhabit it again. Yet, neither are easily found as they are transient.

Asked on December 6, 2012 under Estate Planning, Georgia

Answers:

Victor Waid / Law Office of Victor Waid

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Someone needs to file a petition to probate the property on behalf of your wife's aunt, with notice to all statutory beneficiaries, and make the claim the property should go to your wife based on the facts tyou have given; sounds like some investigation will need to take place as to the location of the daughter and grandaughter so as to allow them the opportunity to contest the petition or make a claim for the property. also, obtain yourself probate counsel to assist you.

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I strongly suggest that you consult a Georgia probate/estate lawyer about this.  If your wife's aunt had no will, her property will go to the people listed in Georgia's statute of descent and distribution.  Those people are probably her daughter and then her grandaughter. The daughter and grandaughter could waive or disclaim their right to inherit, but you are entirely correct to be concerned they will allow you to pay the debts and restore the property and then take it away.

If I were you, I would think carefully about paying the expense of a probate and locating the daughter and grandaughter only to inherit nothing in the end.  Even if the house is sold to pay the expenses and your wife receives compensation for administering the estate, it may not be worth your effort.  Consultation with a probate attorney in the area where your wife's aunt died will give you the specific information you need to make a decision.


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