Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in North Carolina

My mother died in 2013. I went to the clerks office after she died with her death certificate and was told that her property would be in all three of her children's names because she did not have a will. I have received tax bills with her name c/o me for the last 3 years. Does this mean that the deed has not changed? What do I need to change her deed.

Asked on 10/30/16, 10:20 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Taxes and probate are two different subjects. First, if your mother died with no will, I assume she had more than one child. In such case, title to the land automatically passed to ALL of the children. Obviously no estate was probated because if it was, this problem would not have occurred and the personal representative would have issued an executor's deed. However, you do not post any details so it is unclear whether there needs to be an estate administration at this point.

Regarding the deed to the land, assuming that the land is owned free and clear and that there is no need for probate and there are no outstanding claims, any real estate attorney could prepare a new deed and put the land in the names of the heirs. However, its not a good idea for several people to own land like this. My suggestion would be to buy out the shares of the other children if possible if you want the land. Or have the other siblings buy out your share if you don't. Whoever is selling their share can quitclaim their interest in the property to the others who are buying. Once all the ownership is in one person a new deed can be prepared.

In answer to your question, title to land vest immediately in the heirs upon death if there is no will. However, this does not mean that there has been any changes to the deed. The deed is still in your mother's name. For tax purposes, someone has to pay the taxes and you must have paid the taxes so the tax office simply added your name.

I strongly suggest that you see a probate/real estate attorney who practices in the county where the land is located to see if there needs to be an estate administered for your mother. if not, see if the attorney can assist in preparing a new deed.

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Answered on 10/30/16, 8:42 pm

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