You would have to open her estate for probate to ensure that all property is properly transferred to you and your heirs in accordance with any will or if there is no will in accordance with the laws of intestacy, meaning to you as surviving spouse and to any of her descendants. The first thing in opening probate is having an administrator named who would then make an inventory of all of the property and whether it is jointly held between the two of you or if it is separate property. Then, it is best using an attorney for the probate, since the attorney would be able to make notices to the creditors as required and make sure that all of the property with deeds/titles is properly transferred over to the heirs in case they ever want to or need to sell it there will be no delays. All bills of the estate must be paid before any heir can take from the estate and if not then the administrator could become personally liable for those bills. Also, a final tax return must be filed, even though there is likely to be no tax due unless the estate is worth over $3.5 million.
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