Would my deceased grandmother’s house be part of my father’s estate if he passed away after her deathbut the title to the home was still in her name?

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Would my deceased grandmother’s house be part of my father’s estate if he passed away after her deathbut the title to the home was still in her name?

My grandmother passed away over 20 years ago and even though she promised me her house, I could not find a will. Her only son (my father) passed away recently and has no assets in his name. No probate was every opened for my grandmother’s house and it was still in her name only at the time of his death. Would her house legally be part of his probate estate? I am the only next of kin, how would I probate her estate? A probate referee appraised her total estate for under $100,000 at the time of her death.

Asked on September 3, 2010 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your loss.  Both your Grandmother and your Father dies "intestate" meaning without a Will.  In each state there are sets of laws known as Intestacy Statutes that will govern how property passes from party tp party.  Next of kin have first dibs in a certain priority. When your Grandmother passed on, her house would have gone to your Father under the intestacy statutes as her only son and her next of kin, assuming that there was no surviving spouse.  The problem is is that it was never properly transferred by executor's deed. If her estate has been appraised (and it should be a "date of death" appraisal) at under $100,000.00 then you may be able to use the Small Estate Affidavit to transfer the asset to the Estate of your Father.  Yes, it will be part of his estate once properly transferred. Now, your Father's next of kin will matter on how the house is then transferred.  If you are the only surviving next of kin then the property may not have to be transferred twice (with the deeds and fees associated therewith) and you can use the affidavit for his estate, but I would check with a legal expert in your area.  And I would ask the court for an opinion on how they want to handle it.  Good luck.


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