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Can two co-executors of a will avoid probate by using a quit claim deed to transfer ownership of a house?

Springfield, IL |

My mother passed away in January and left me and my sister as Co-executors of her will. We have agreed that my sister is going to keep the house in exchange for many of the contents of the house. My mother died in Christian county Illinois but the house is in Sangamon county Illinois. I don't even know which county building to go to. The money that was left we used to pay off my mothers debt and for her funeral so we do not have any money for a probate lawyer. I don't even know if a probate is needed or if I can just fill out a quit claim deed. And of course to make matters worse, I live in Texas while she is living in the house in Illinois so getting anything done is quite a challenge. I also have heard of something called a Family Settlement Agreement, is that an option for us?

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Attorney answers 4


The home is not titled in your name so you cannot execute a quit claim deed. You really need to discuss your situation with a probate attorney. You may be surprised that the fees are not outrageous ad many will provide free consultations. Your mother's will needs to be filed in the county where she last resided, and this should be done immediately if not already accomplished as it should have been done within 30 days of her passing. A probate of the estate will probably be needed until you can use the services of a title company who will accept a deed in lieu of probate. As stated, you need to discuss this with a probate attorney,


You need a Illinois probate attorney in the county she resided to assist you-sorry for the news.
You have no authority to do a deed at this time.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.


Regardless of what the will says you and your sister are not executors until the probate court grants you that authority. Any deed you prepare will be invalid and will cause problems in the future.

Your probate should not be expensive. If you and your sister are the only beneficaries you can agree to divide the estate as you want.


If the house is part of the probate estate (wasn't in a trust or owned by joint tenancy) a probate estate will need to be opened in the county where your mother resided at the time of her death. From the little we know here, it should not be extremely expensive or time consuming. If you and your sister are the only legatees and get along, matters probably won't be too complicated.

Contact a probate attorney in the county where your mother resided.

Though we strive to provide accurate legal information in our answers on AVVO, our answer should not be construed as legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Our firm only forms attorney-client relationships by written agreement signed by both our firm and the client. Please seek an in-person consultation with an attorney immediately as almost all legal matters are time sensitive and failing to meet deadlines can result in adverse consequences.

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