My mother passed away about 4 months ago and I just realized that I have to file a "change of ownership statement: death of real property owner" form with the county. She has her primary residence that my brother and I are on the note with and are paying property payments on and another vacant lot behind her that she is the sole owner on. Do we have to file this form on both parcels or just the one with her name alone? We also was wondering if this parcel goes into any kind of probate action since there is no will?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Lack of a will is not, in itself, indicative that no probate proceeding is necessary. Some degree of formality of proceedings is required for all but small estates. Where the decedent owned real property and had a mortgage, the assistance of an attorney with probate experience is almost certainly going to be necessary to avoid a mess down the line. I'd guess that someone needs to petition the local court for formal appointment as the estate's representative, and should do so after consultation with an attorney.
A probate is likely needed to transfer the properties. You need to consult with an attorney so that the attorney can review the facts and give you specific legal advice. Many attorneys will initially consult with you without charge.