Real Time Web Analytics

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What if I inherit the house from my mom, but my deceased dad's name is still on it?

This is a common scenario: a married couple puts their home in both of their names as joint tenants. Years later, the husband passes away. The mother makes a will leaving the house to her son. Then the mother passes away and the son begins to deal with the will.

This should be a straightforward estate, since the mother kept her will up to date and there is only one child. But one important step was never taken - the step of taking the father's name off the house title. Now it's going to be a whole different story for the son trying to sort things out.

After a joint owner passes away, that owner's name stays on the title until the surviving joint owner asks the Land Titles registry to remove it. After all, the Land Titles people don't know that the owner died, so the name isn't going to come off automatically. The surviving joint owner simply has to take a government-issued death certificate down to the Land Titles registry, swear an affidavit or declaration there, and ask for the change to be made. It takes very little time and doesn't cost much.

Unfortunately, many people either don't know they have to request a change, or don't know how to go about it, so it is never done.

Once the mother in this scenario has also passed away, there is a problem. The mother's will enables the son to deal with her assets, but the asset still has two names on it. The son can't deal with the father's title under the mother's will. If the father left a will that named the son as executor (or named the mother as first executor, and the son as an alternate), then the son would have to probate that will as well as the mother's will to deal with the house. Of course this increases his work, his costs and his delay.

If the father hasn't left a will appointing the son as executor, the son might end up getting a court order to allow him to take the father's name off the title to the home.

This is something you might consider mentioning to your parent if he or she has been widowed. Check to see that the title was updated after one parent passed away. Your surviving parent might appreciate a ride to the registry and some help with the paperwork, and it will save quite a bit of work and money after both parents are gone.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You might also like

Related Posts with Thumbnails