The Transfer of Property Deed Upon a Spouse

LLP (Limited Liability Partnership)

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LLP (Limited Liability Partnership)

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The Transfer of Property Deed Upon a Spouses Death

One spouse may handle all business and financial transactions during a marriage, including the acquisition of property. If that spouse dies unexpectedly, the surviving spouse may be unaware of what steps, if any, need to be taken to transfer real estate. The surviving spouse may also be unaware the deceased spouses children or other heirs may have acquired an interest in the property at death.

If property was conveyed to both spouses through a joint deed, with right of survivorship, the property automatically transfers to one spouse upon the death of the other. A new deed or probate action is unnecessary under these circumstances, although a surviving spouse may choose to file an affidavit or other evidence of death in the real property records to evidence the transfer of the property.

Tenancy in common is a form of co-ownership in property where each owners undivided interest does not automatically pass to the remaining co-owner upon death. If the couple owned property in this manner, and the deceased spouse left a will, the will should be probated, as provided by state law, in the county where the property lies in order to fulfill the wishes of the decedent. A will generally conveys property to those named to inherit, subject to any debts or claims against the estate. Therefore, it may not be necessary, but is often desired, for the wills executor to sign an executors deed to those parties after probate is complete. An executor may also fulfill her responsibilities to the estate by conveying the property by executors deed to an unrelated third party for cash to be paid to the named heirs or claimants as directed in the will.

If property was not owned with right of survivorship and the deceased did not leave a will, estate property will pass by virtue of the states intestacy laws. Often, even without a will, a probate court proceeding will need to be initiated to produce clear, marketable title to estate property. If probate is initiated without a will, the court will appoint as administrator someone who has petitioned the court and qualifies under state law to serve. The administrator may petition the court to sell or deed property to a willing purchaser for either payment of debts, division among heirs or other reasons authorized by the court. If the court grants the petition, an administrators deed may be executed pursuant to the courts order.

Intestacy laws vary greatly from state to state, but most states provide for the surviving spouse to inherit the largest portion of the deceased spouses assets. If it has been several years since the deceased spouses passing, and the surviving spouse or other heirs have continued to pay taxes on the property and manage it without incident, heirship affidavits may be executed by unrelated parties as proof of the identities of the surviving heirs. Based on these heirship affidavits, the heirs may execute a deed to the surviving spouse or a third party. State laws may vary regarding property conveyed by heirs without probate. Anyone attempting to convey property in this manner should first consult with an attorney familiar with intestate transactions.

Gaprobate: Georgia Probate Proceedings, What to do When Your Loved One Dies?

The Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara: About Probate – How to Probate a Decedents Estate

Lawriter, Ohio Laws and Rules: 5302.09 Deed of Executor, Administrator, Trustee, Guardian, Receiver, or Commissioner Form. Affidavits of Heirship in Texas Intestacy Cases

Auburn University, Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology: Glossary

Living Trust Network: Intestate Succession State Intestacy Laws

In many cases, a person dies without a will, or the will is declared invalid by a probate court. In such cases, distribution of the decedents property proceeds under the states intestate succession laws. If the decedent owned real estate, the estate must transfer title to the real estate to the rightful heirs. An heir affidavit is a document containing sworn statements designed to prove that the person named in the affidavit is a legitimate heir under state law. This permits title to real estate — and in some states, personal property — to be transferred to that heir.

A will is a written document that specifies how a person wishes his estate to be divided. After the testator dies, the will is commonly subject to court proceedings known as probate. Relatives and other potential heirs may find it necessary to locate a will, especially when challenging or questioning the estate proceedings; others often find wills useful when researching family trees. Wills and estate proceedings are typically filed in the probate court of the county or counties in which the deceased had a connection, such as residence or property holdings.

In Florida, one of the many duties of an executor includes paying the decedents creditors with estate assets. Sometimes, an executor may sell real estate without the heirs or beneficiaries permission. However, the circumstances under which the executor may sell real estate without approval of a probate court are limited.

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