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John Elder
John Elder, Estate & Elder Law
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4631
Experience:  Over 14 years experience in Medicaid, Estates, Trust.
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I live in Ohio. My sister in law died May 2012, Her estate has not been settled. My bro

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I live in Ohio. My sister in law died May 2012, Her estate has not been settled. My brother died Dec 2013. I am executor of his estate. His attorney gives me mixed answers on whether the house (sole asset joinly owned) must be sold as part of her estate or his. Can someone help. The house is now in foreclose as the attorney has been filing paperwork timely.
Sorry has NOT been filing necessary paperwork.
Welcome! Thank you for your question.

Do you have a copy of the deed to the property? Does the deed say something like "for their joint lives or to the survivor of them"?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Both of them had always said they had a right of survivorship will. However the deed (which I have) doesn't say that. It just has both their names followed by their heirs and assigns forever, the following described real estate.

My sister in laws will was determined to be invalid (notarized but no witnesses). My brother's will left everything to his wife (it was assummed he would die first). He did not have any provisions regarding if she predeceased him. He did not have any children, so whatever remains goes to his siblings.



Just to make sure you are talking about the deed not the will, correct. The deed says "their heirs and assigns forever, the following described real estate." Is that correct?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes, that is the deed. His actual will just left the vehicles to his niece and nephew and everything else to his wife. He wrote the will himself but he did have it properly witnesses so it is valid...but deficient.

Unfortunately the way the deed is written means that the property would be 1/2 owned by your sister-in-law's estate and 1/2 owned by your brother's estate. This means that neither estate can sell the property alone. Both executors will be required to agree to the listing and sale of the property. The sale proceeds will be divided equally among both estates.

If your sister-in-law does not have children, her estate will likely distribute all remaining proceeds, after payment of he debts, to your brother's estate based on Ohio intestate succession laws. However, prior to being able to distribute assets the property must be sold by both estates and the debts paid.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My sister in laws administrator and I both want to auction the house and disburse whatever is left appropriately. Our problem has been the attorney (for both estates) will not file the necessary papers with the court and they are afraid to change attorneys. Is there any point to talking to someone at the Probate Court?


The Probate Court will likely not talk to you since you have an attorney. They cannot assist you or give you separate advise. The good news is that both of you want to sell the house. The bad news is that either you have to work through your current attorney or hire a new lawyer that will get this done for you. Ohio probate court will not let you do this on your own "pro se."
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