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Ask Legalease Your Own Question
Legalease, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 16223
Experience:  15 yrs experience: Elder Law, Wills, Social Security Issues
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I live in California. My husband died a year ago. We had

Customer Question

I live in California. My husband died a year ago. We had been married for 54 years, neither of us were married before. We have four children and no children other than through our marriage. We were married at 17 and 18 and therefore owned nothing and did not inherit anything. We bought our home 32 years ago the title was registered in both our names "as a married couple" we live in California. Before my husband died (he had cancer) we met with the bank that holds our mortgage and asked if there was any problem with the way it was held with the house going to me, they asked lots of questions, like how we held title to cars, etc, and said there shouldn't be a problem. The loan is in both our names. I contacted them upon his death and brought in a death certificate. I have now sold the home and escrow is ready to close and my realtor called the Title Co says it will probably have to go through Probate. I was listed as his beneficiary on his Union benefits and his retirement account that was set up through his work, so my husband felt he had taken care of everything.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Legalease replied 5 months ago.
Hello there ---You are entitled to the simplified passing of the real estate that was held jointly with your husband during his lifetime, but there are certain steps that you must take through the probate court in order to take advantage of the simplified passing process. There are two ways that you can accomplish this: (A) filing an Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant with the recorder of deeds office, together with a copy of the death certificate (this process does not require a court hearing and can be agreed to by the clerk at the probate court), or (B) Making a Spousal Probate property petition (this involves a court hearing and must be signed off on by a judge in probate court and it can take up to 15 days to get such a hearing). Generally speaking, the choice between using either of these procedures is made by the clerk of the courts and depends upon the real estate value -- if the RE value is under 150K, then the Affidavit of Death of a Joint Tenant can be used. -Here is a link to a family court website that explains the entire probate court process for small estates (it is the same in every county in CA), while I am sorry to be the bearer of news that will hold up the sale for a little while, at least I could tell you that there are simplified procedures to get this matter through a lot quicker than the regular probate process. If you review the above article there are attached legal forms and references to the form numbers that you can use to get this taken care of. Please let me know if you have any further questions. IF not, can you please press a positive rating above these answer boxes in the ratings section so I will be paid for my time. I am paid NOTHING unless you press the middle star or the fourth or fifth star to the right of the middle star above. THANK YOU VERY MUCH !!-Mary Legalease

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