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Is there any way to avoid probate even if the decedent was a tenant in common with another recently deceased person?

Los Angeles, CA |

my friend's great grandmother(alice) had two sisters who were widows and childless. One sister named susan and the other named betty. susan filed an afidavit as owner of the house after her husband died. Then Susan filed a grand deed for herself and her sister betty to live in the house, however, she didnt say weather it would be as joint tenants or tenants in common. Soon Betty died and a few years ago Susan also died leaving the house to my friend's great grandmother alice. Alice also died and left the property to her daughter which is my friends grandmother who also was an only child. she had three children which is my friend's mother and an uncle and aunt. my friend's grandmother was going to pass the house to her mom but her mom insisted that my friend take it. can we avoid prob

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Attorney answers 4


It is very unlikely that probate will be avoided here but the title will need to be reviewed and the value determined before a final determination can be made. The reality is unless the property was in joint tenancy, probate may be necessary as far back as Susan's estate. A probate attorney can help with this. Remember probate fees are paid from the estate at the end of the probate so your friend does not need to worry about coming out of pocket for those fees now.


I agree that it is probable a probate proceeding will be required. A quiet title action is another way of getting there, but probably just as difficult if not more so. This is , unfortunately, a common problem whan deaths occur and appropriate actions are not taken. While title can be cleared, it is time sonsuming and expensive to do so. Get your documents together and discuss the matter in detail with a capable trust and probate attorney.


Attorneys James and Christian are correct. Based on this unusual fact pattern, I would have to believe the property will have to be probated at some level. Nevertheless, an experienced probate attorney should be retained to determine just what needs to be done here. Good luck to you.

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The other attorneys are correct. There are two potential alternative depending on the value of the interest in the property held by your aunt's grandmother. If 50,000 or less then you could you a special affidavit. If $150,000 or less you could use a short form Petition to claim the interest. Otherwise, probate will be necessary.

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