My grandfather died 9 years ago without a will. My mom has been living in his house, taking care of the property maintenance as well as the property taxes since his death. She never put the property through probate to take ownership in her name mainly because financially she could not afford it. There are no disputes over the property or other heirs to receive anything but her. How can she go about taking care of this and is there a penalty because she never placed it into probate after his death?
2 Answers from Attorneys
There is no "penalty" but the probate does have to be done eventually. If your mom dies, without going through probate, YOU could end up with a DOUBLE probate! Plus, if you get it into mom's name she can then put it into a trust to avoid proabte at her death. Also, the property tax exemption form, for a parent-child transfer, is supposed to be filed within 3 years of death. Hopefully the county assessor will accept the late filing and not give your mom a mamouth tax bill. This really needs to be resolved! The bottom line is this should not be allowed to sit any longer. Take action! Maybe you can find an attorney who would defer some of the costs and get paid over time? We will do that in some cases. Call me to discuss your case. I perform probates in all counties of California! -John
The biggest problem is that the real property is essentially frozen because there is no good chain of title ownership. This would be the main reason to do the Probate.
If you still need help, please feel free to contact me directly to go over the details further.