Did my father's home pass to me when he died? Do I have to go through probate?

Asked over 1 year ago - San Marcos, CA

My father died in 2009. His home was his only asset. I live in it and pay the mortage. It was homesteaded in California. I am his executer and only living heir. Does it have to go through probate court? It is worth around $360,000.00. $170,000.00 is owed to the mortgage company.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Edward Warren Goodson

    Contributor Level 11


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . While I agree with the other attorneys' answers, I'd like to add that there is generally a 3 year period in which you can file for an exclusion from real property tax reassessment after your father's death. Any further delay could increase your annual property taxes dramatically, especially if the house has appreciated since your father purchased it. I urge you to consult with a probate attorney right away.

    Please call me for a free consultation at 925-362-4230. The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is... more
  2. James P. Frederick

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Probate would be necessary to pass title to you. I would consult with a probate attorney to determine how best to proceed. You can do this without an attorney, and your case might be one where you are willing to try, since you are harming only yourself if you get it wrong. You might be able to find an attorney who would simply consult with you when you need assistance and would not act as attorney for the estate. This might keep costs down somewhat. You can check with some of the county probate courts for information on the probate process to determine how comfortable you are in proceeding with this.

    James Frederick

    *** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and... more
  3. Eric Jerome Gold


    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . TO properly transfer this property to your name from your father's, based on these facts, you will have to go through the probate process. The house has substantial value to it and you will have a lot of equity in the property. It would be money well spent to consult with a local probate attorney for assistance with the process and to be sure that it is properly handled. At the same time, you should do some estate planning for yourself to be sure that this is not a challenge for your loved ones in the future.

    When responding to questions posted on Avvo, I provide a general purpose response based on California law as I am... more
  4. Joseph Jonathan Brophy

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I generally agree with Mr. Frederick's advice, but in this instance I strongly advise you to get a lawyer and do it correctly. It's not going to cost a whole lot compared to the value of the house, and you won't have to worry down the line whether you have clear title shoud you decide to sell it.

    Any opinions stated in response to Avvo questions are based upon the facts stated in the question. Responses to... more

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