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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 102171
Experience:  Fully licensed attorney in Texas in private practice.
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My mother passed away last year. She and my father owned their

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My mother passed away last year. She and my father owned their home as trustees for me, I have the deed. I was also joint owner of her bank accounts so I have been able to pay final bills, etc. and there was not a need to file for a short certificate. I have not done anything with the house but had some minor sewer backup damage which I reported the insurance co and they covered however the check is made payabale to "the estate of.." I am unable to deposit the check as I do not have an estate account since there was not need for one other than this. Should I now file for the short certificate? I am an only child in the state of PA.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am very sorry for your loss, and your current situation. Yes, you do need to file for the short certificate - allow me to explain why.

A Short Certificate is a legal document that shows the decedent’s name and date of death. It will also show the name of the Executor/Executrix who has been named to handle the affairs of the estate. A Short Certificate can be obtained at the Register of Wills office in the county court house, once the estate is probated.

When someone passes away, then their estate has to be distributed. The problem is that without probate - with assets such as titled property or bank accounts - this is hard to do. This is because you cannot switch over the assets without an order from the probate court, and simply a Certificate of Death will not do. A Certificate of Death simply states that someone has passed on, but does not give you the right to really do anything in the deceased's name.

So one files probate. Once probate is filed, the Executor of the estate gets the Short Certificate and it will allow the Executor to switch over the assets from the deceased individual to whoever will own the property. It is like a "Power of Attorney," but from the Court. Without that certificate, there is no way to transfer titled property and switch the assets into your hands.

You have been lucky in that your name has been on her accounts so you could access them without a Short Certificate. But since your name is XXXXX XXXXX the title, you need to Short Certificate to transfer the title to you, and/or to sell it, etc.

So yes, you would need to file for one.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Best of luck.

Please note: I aim to give you genuine information and not necessarily to tell you only what you wish to hear. Please, rate me on the quality of my information and do not punish me for my honesty. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize.

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