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Tenancy in entirety on house deed but not recognized in GA, spouse dies. Ways to avoid probate?

Marietta, GA |
Filed under: Estate planning

Surviving spouse wants to sell house immediately and return to her country (both were resident aliens), but deed was written as "tenants by the entirety". Seems not recognized by GA. Any recourse against title company? Can title just be transferred without probate and lawyer fees?

Attorney Answers 1


You could make an argument that the "tenants by the entirety" language on the deed should be deemed sufficient to create a joint tenancy with rights of survivorship. However, if the proposed transferor or a title company will not accept that argument, this argument will likely not get you very far. There may also be some circumstances under which the surviving spouse could be deemed to be the sole titleholder, but you should really consult a lawyer directly for help in determining whether that set of circumstances exists. Finally, you may just be forced to deal with the probate court, either through a probate or administration process or a petition for an order declaring no administration necessary, what ever may be most beneficial and appropriate.

So, no, you will likely need to at least consult a lawyer.

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