No Will but Land Is Left Behind

No Will but Land Is Left Behind

My father passed away and had no will and we just discovered that there a piece of land that he had a title to. How can the title be changed into the three surviving siblings names? There was a probate case set up and then closed for no activity two years ago.


The first thing to confirm is what the title to the property is. Presumably you've already confirmed that it was in your father's name alone. If the title (the deed or ownership) listed others as co-owners, etc. the property would pass to them on your father's death. A title company can confirm this for you. Presumably you've already checked the deed.

If your father had no will (and hopefully the family has made a diligent search of this) then the property would pass by the laws of intestacy in the state where the property is located.

You might want to contact the surrogate's court (probate court, or orphans' court) and inquire what has to be done. In some cases if it is a small value property you might have a more informal and less expensive probate process (it is often referred to as intestacy or administration since there is no will). The safest approach, however, is to hire an attorney that specializes in estate and probate work or real estate to help you. You will probably have to restart the probate process if it wasn't completed the prior time, obtain original death certificates, apply for letters of administration, etc. Be aware that if nothing has been done in two years past due property taxes could be a significant cost. You should also consult with a local real estate attorney as two years (perhaps more) of nonpayment of property taxes could result in the property being seized for back due taxes.

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