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Richard, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 55715
Experience:  29 years of experience practicing law, including tax and estate planning.
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What happens to property if you die in alabama with out a

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What happens to property if you die in alabama with out a will?
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.

Good morning. Just to make sure I have the correct state....are you asking about a decedent that lives in Alabama at the time of death or just happens to die there? I want to make sure because Florida is also referenced as the applicable state. And, finally, can you tell me who are the decedent's surviving relatives...surviving spouse? children with surviving spouse? children with anyone else? are any children deceased? if so, do the deceased children have any children? any surviving parents or siblings of the decedent? Thank you!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My parents are 88yrs (dad) and 78yrs(mom). They live full time in Alabama and own homes that are paid for in Alabama and Florida. Everything they own is joint with right of survivorship. Neither have a will, what will happen to their property when the the last one dies. They have three children living. I am the oldest, married and living in Florida. My two sisters are divorced and living in Alabama. Thanks so much.]



Good morning and thanks so much for following up. Any assets that is owned as joint tenants with right of survivorship automatically vest in the surviving owner upon the death of the first owner outside the probate process. Whether or not they have a will is not relevant because property owned as JT/ROS are not probate assets and thus are not governed by the will, if there was one, or by the intestate succession process.

But, if the surviving owner later dies without a will, since that owner then owns 100% of the property, it will pass pursuant to the intestate succession laws applicable for the state in which the property is located. Under those intestate laws, if they have no remarried, the assets would be divided equally among the 3 of you (provided the decedent has no children by others).

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

If the survivor dies without a will, will the property and assets be subject to probate and taxes? Where could I look up the law in Alabama. Would the Florida property fall under Florida law? Do I need a lawyer in Alabama to help with this, either before they die(so I can be prepared ) or after they die to assist in the process? Can I estimate taxes due before they die?

Thanks for following up. The will and property will not be subject to probate because survivorship assets pass automatically outside probate. The interest held by the decedent would be subject to estate and inheritance taxes. I would suggest, however, that they do have wills, because once the first one dies, then the assets owned by the survivor will be subject to probate upon their deaths. Upon the death of the second spouse, the probate will take place primarily in the state in which the decedent resides at time of death, but there will need to be what is called an "ancillary" probate proceeding in other states where real property is located. Currently, up to $5,250,000 is exempt from tax on the Federal level. Florida and Alabama do not impose any estate tax. If their total assets exceed $5,250,000, they should also do wills to make sure each of them gets full advantage of the $5,250,000 exemption.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Are there any inheiritance taxes on property in Al and FL and at what rate?

Do the three children get to decide who gets which property or all three of us on the title?

No....neither state imposes an inheritance tax.

You can agree among yourselves...if you cannot agree, the property would be transferred to you in undivided 1/3 ownerships and you would each own 1/3 of each property.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

How long does probate take? Do we need to be present for this? What about bank accts, etc? Will state issue what is needed to close accts?

There is no specific time....a normal estate would take 6-9 months to complete. When probate is opened, the court issues documentation to the appointed executor evidencing that appointment. It's that documentation you take to the bank to access the bank accounts or you present to anyone else who needs evidence of the appointment.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Who appoints the executer?

If there is no will, the court appoints the executor...which would typically be one of you 3 children; if there is a will, the will designates the executor.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much, this has been very helpful.



You're's been my pleasure! Have a great day!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Can we sell any property before probate is complete? Last question :)

Yes, the executor can sell the property on behalf of the estate as long as all beneficiaries are agreeable. No worries...I'm here to help! :)
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