Inheriting property can be exciting, but it can also come with a lot of legal paperwork. You can’t just transfer a home over to your name without going through the proper channels. Either the appointed executor of the will or a member of probate court will need to modify the deed to reflect the new ownership.

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DID THE DECEASED WILL THE DEED BEFORE HIS DEATH?

A person that wills you their property can handle the transfer of the property before they die. This is the simplest way to transfer a deed. The owner of the home will complete a transfer-on-death deed. This deed transfers ownership of the home as soon as the death of the owner is proven with a death certificate. You don’t have to do anything else – the property belongs to you.

WHAT IS THE CHAIN OF SUCCESSION?

If the deceased didn’t complete a transfer-on-death deed, you’ll have to follow the chain of succession as determined in the will. If the person giving you the property was not married and you are the executor of the estate, you can obtain an executor’s deed. This deed shows that you are the new owner of the property. The property may have to go through probate court just to make sure everything was done according to the law.

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If the deceased was married and the spouse is still alive or the original owner died first, the spouse’s will takes precedence. If this is the case, the spouse’s will takes effect. You’ll need to see if you are the new owner according to the spouse’s will as well. This may take a little more time as the court determines the succession of death and sorts out who owns the property now.

If the deceased died without a will, the property will go through probate. Once probate court determines the rightful owner of the property, they will issue an administrator’s deed. This deed shows you as the owner of the property according to probate court.

CERTIFYING THE DEED

Before the deed can become official, you must sign it in front of a notary. The same is true of the official deeding you the property, whether it’s the executor of the will or the probate court official. Both parties must sign the deed and have it notarized. Once signed and notarized, the county recorder receives a copy of the deed to property record it in the county records.