Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Pennsylvania

My recently deceased mother and I owned a lot as joint tenants with right of survivorship. Now I want to sell it. What all must I do to be able to do that?

There is no will and no other property. She was in a nursing home on Medicaid/Medicare.

Asked on 5/11/13, 3:00 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Miriam Jacobson Law Offices of Miriam N. Jacobson

Find a buyer. Assuming that the buyer will be getting title insurance, the title insurance company will prepare a deed that will include recitations about title automatically vesting in you upon your mother's death. It is not necessary to record a separate deed before that.

Check with an estates lawyer in your area about probating her estate, and whether you have to give DPW notice so that it may check whether it has a claim against the estate for medical services to your mother.

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Answered on 5/11/13, 9:39 pm

I would agree with Attorney Jacobson, but want to make a couple of extra points.

Since you owned the land as a joint tenant with right of survivorship with your mother that means the land passed to you automatically as of the moment of your mother's death. However, you do not indicate when the land was put in your name. If it was within one year of death, there might be inheritance taxes owed.

Also, the Medicaid department by law is mandated to seek recovery for the care rendered to your mother. This would entail repaying Medicaid from your mother's probate estate. However, if your mother was on Medicaid, then she probably did not have much in the way of assets. PA law provides that in such cases a child may be personally liable for the costs.

So you definitely need to speak with a probate lawyer and determine whether any kind of inheritance taxes or reimbursement will need to be paid to Medicaid. Neither of those things will stop you from selling the land. Just do not spend the proceeds until you can confirm whether money will be owed to the state Medicaid or revenue departments.

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Answered on 5/13/13, 10:32 pm


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