When a mother passes away and does not leave a Will, to whom does their property go to?

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When a mother passes away and does not leave a Will, to whom does their property go to?

A friend of mine is currently living with his mother in a 4 bedroom home that was owned by their grandmother. Several years ago, she passed away and did not leave a Will behind. The house is still under a mortgage and they have been making payments on it for several years now, but have not gone down there to get the property put in their name. They expect to have it paid off in 3-4 years. When they pay it off will the home belong to his mother or will the home belong to the bank and they are paying it off for nothing?

Asked on November 13, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As long as they are paying on the mortgage, the bank has no ownership rights to the property.  As for your friend's mother's ownership interest, that's different.  If his mother was his grandmother's only child she would have inherited the home upon the grandmother's passing.  This is because when someone dies without a Will they are said to have died "intestate".  Therefore, the intestacy laws of the state that she was domiciled in as of the date of her death would control.  Typically, that would be to her spouse, if any, and any surviving children.


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