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Deeds vs. Wills

Huntington, WV |

Do deeds to property supercede wills? The property is in WV and the deed was drawn up there also. The only survivor on the deed is now deceased (from CA). Do the next of kin automatically inherit the property regardless of what the will states?? Also, the next of kin have been paying property taxes on the property for 14 years.

The deed had it going from the grandmother(who is now deceased) to her two daughters. One daughter died. It then went to the surviving daughter who had no husband, children, no living parents or siblings. The next of kin would be her niece & nephew. The property was not mentioned at all in the will. But if the deed (which I assume is the same as a title) supercedes a will. Would it even matter if the property was mentioned or left to anyone in the will anyway since the deed would override that??? And if that is true, would the property go to the only living next of kin (niece & nephew) or would it become part of the estate??

Attorney Answers 2


wills only govern property that is in the name of the deceased at the time of death. property (whether real estate or bank accounts or...) that passes by operation of title to someone does not go through the estate / will / probate. the key is how the property is titled.

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I agree with Mr. Selden that you need to determine the name on the deed. I would suggest that you contact the register/recorder of deeds in the county in which your family member died and ask them to fax or mail you the most recently recorded deed on all property in the deceased's name. If the property is in his/her name alone (not jointly owned or not payable on death via a beneficiary deed), the property will have to pass through the probate process so check with the Court to see if a probate action has been filed. If the Will leaves the property to someone other than "next of kin" you should consider filing a claim in the probate estate for the payment of property taxes for the past 14 years (depending on what the understanding was - did you use the property rent free; did you get to hunt on the property for free; did you receive something of value over the years for paying the taxes???).

I hope this has been helpful.

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