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How do I transfer house from mother's estate to adult children?

Royal Oak, MI |

My mother recently died intestate in Michigan. I've been appointed personal representative. Her estate consists primarily of her house and car. My two sisters and I plan to hold onto the house, so we need to deed it from the estate to us. Can I just record a quit claim deed from the estate to us? If yes, is there special terminology for inherited transfer or can I use a standard form? It appears to be customary to put $10 for the exchange for parents to kids, but would we do that from estate to kids? We haven't yet decided on joint tenants vs. in common-- there are reasonable arguments for both. We get along well, and should have no trouble coming to agreement either way.

also- the house is paid for and she died with essentially no debt, so dealing with creditors or banks is not an issue. Informal probate has already been opened, and the attorney I talked to didn't see a problem for me to handle this without a probate attorney.

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Attorney answers 5

Posted

It CAN be handled without an attorney, or with limited attorney help. You just need to make sure you follow procedures, to the letter. Oakland County probate has a decent set of brochures on administering an estate, posted on their website. You should download those and review them in detail. We do not use quit claim deeds for probate. It may be possible to use them, but it would be better to use a personal representative deed. I would have an attorney prepare this. For $200-300, you can be sure it is done right and that you do not have problems come up and bite you, down the road. A consideration of $1.00 is fine. I generally use joint tenants with rights of survivorship, because that does not involve spouses.

Also, even though you do not expect creditor issues, I would still file the Notice to Creditors. That will shorten your statute of limitations from 3 years to 4 months. It is worth paying $80 to do this. Also, don't forget to give Notice to the Friend of the Court.

James Frederick

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

Posted

You can prepare the deed yourself, but as Mr. Frederick indicated, it is worth a couple hundred bucks to make sure it is done properly. Assuming the property is worth something, this amount is tiny to protect your investment. Also, as Mr. Frederick indicated, you need to make sure you have completed all the steps of probate to protect yourself against liability as the PR, and spending a couple thousand on attorney guidance seems like a drop in the bucket.

Posted

Since you already have an attorney that is helping you with the probate of your mother's estate, you should not attempt to prepare the deed your self. Your attorney can easily assist you with this and the cost is nominal, yet the pitfalls of doing it incorrectly are enormous. A deed though may seem simple is a legal document that should be prepared by a competent attorney. I can't tell you how many times I come across a deed that was prepared incorrectly creating a number of problems.

Posted

You can make the transfer. It is done through what we call an Estate Deed that differs slightly from the typical Quit Claim Deed. Whether you need court review and approval depends on the nature of your appointment. It should be no problem in either event. The Estate attorney should be able to help you. If there are any problems. please give us a call.

So there is no misunderstanding, this answer does not create an attorney/client relationship and you cannot presume that I am your lawyer or that my advice can be relied upon in any way other than for information only. You will not become my client unless and until you retain me.

Posted

As has been stated above, your goal can be accomplished without the need for an attorney, but careful attention needs to be paid to your duties and responsibilities as a personal representative. A personal representative could be liable under certain circumstances if proper procedures are not followed. As always, the investment in an attorney is likely much smaller before a problem arises than after a problem arises, as it takes more time to correct mistakes than it does to prevent them.