Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
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If the house wasn't already titled as being jointly owned by the deceased and the heir, then yes, it has to go through probate. The reason is that the house would be in the estate and have to be transferred by a deed. The only person who can sign a deed for the estate is the executor of the estate. And the executor is only legally appointed by a probate court judge after filing a probate case to settle the estate.