How to transfer house title when parents deceased

Asked over 2 years ago - Philadelphia, PA

My mother recently passed away and my sister and permanently disabled brother still live in my mother's house (never lived anywhere else). My mom did not have a will and the house is paid off. My sister recently obtained guardianship over my brother due to his disability status. There is no dispute over who gets the house - we all agree that my sister will get it. What is the simplest way for us to get the title transferred over to my sister? Thank you so much for any advice you would be willing to provide.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Robert P. Gasparro

    Contributor Level 11


    Lawyers agree

    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . There are three general principles that may or may not be involved in this case. An attorney would need to know more specific facts and so this answer is for general information only. It may or may not apply in your case.

    1. The most usual way to transfer title to a house is through probate. Sometimes you cannot transfer title without going through probate.It depends on how the house is titled.

    2. If an individual who is beneficiary of a bequest is receiving public benefits, such as public disability benefits, the receipt of a bequest may place them over the income/ asset tests for those benefits and they will need to spend the money from the bequest in lieu of public assistance.

    3. In some cases a beneficiary receiving public benefits may be able to disclaim their bequest, in others they cannot. Normally there is a time limit in which the recipient of a bequest may disclaim their interest in the property.

    4. The laws of intestacy determine who will receive from the estate of a deceased individual.
    The way to avoid problems in this area is usually, but not always, to establish a Special Needs Trust for the individual on disability. This is usually done in a will, but sometimes the trust is set up independent of a will.

    This answer does not establish an attorney/ client relationship and the facts of your case might be different. You should consult an attorney if you need more assistance.

  2. Steven J. Fromm

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If someone dies without a will, then the laws of intestate succession control. Normally, where the decedent has no spouse and only children, the children split the assets under the laws of intestacy. If you do not follow these rules then it gets more complicated. There are gift tax and gift tax returns at issue.
    Also, the estate needs to be probated to allow an administrator/trix to be named to act for the estate.
    Also, PA inheritance taxes are probably due on this estate.

    For a sense of what is involved in administering an estate in most states, please see the following two articles: Estate & Probate Administration: Do Not Try This On Your Own at and Pennsylvania Probate & Estate Administration: Executor Duties at

    Hope this helps.

    Please remember to designate a best answer to your question.

    Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is , his website for more tax, estate and business articles is

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia... more

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