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socrateaser, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 39149
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Irwin, Thank you so much so quickly. My wife died over three

Customer Question

Hello Irwin,
Thank you so much for responding so quickly.
My wife died over three years ago. We owned a home in Los Angeles, California. I'm continuing to pay the Mortgage. There also are two different checking accounts that were in her name only. I'm wondering what documents and process is needed to put the house solely in my name. There are no children or anyone that would have any claim on the property.
Thanks again,
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Estate Law
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The house is valued significantly over 150,000.00, which I understand to be an important point. The two checking accounts have approximately 5000.00 in each.
Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.


I am a member of the State Bar of California, and the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (which includes Los Angeles County) -- and, I am a member of the California and National Association of Realtors. Question for you:

How is title to the home currently held (husband and wife, community property, joint tenants, tenants in common)?

If you don't know, then please just say, "I don't know."

Thanks for using Justanswer!

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your assistance.
I regards ***** ***** question.....I believe that here in California a Mortgage is community property. Both our names are ***** ***** Mortgage. My wife's two checking accounts (different banks) did not have my name on the accounts.
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 2 years ago.

In order to Answer your question, as the previous expert indicated, this needs to be known. How is title to the home currently held (husband and wife, community property, joint tenants, tenants in common)? The answer can be found by examining your deed, which is the legal instrument by which you acquired title originally. Irwin

Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.

Good morning, Sean, and thanks for your updated information. I will answer your general question, based upon the limited information that you have provided, so as to avoid any further delay.

The California Probate Code establishes an optional procedure for “short-cutting” probate administration of community and/or quasi-community property that “passes to” (i.e., from decedent, whether by will or intestate succession) or already “belongs to” the surviving spouse or registered domestic partner and separate property that “passes to” the surviving spouse or registered domestic partner: Property qualifying for the “set-aside” may be “determined” (in the case of property passing to the survivor) and “confirmed” (in the case of an interest in community or quasi-community property already belonging to the survivor) to the surviving spouse/domestic partner without probate delay – i.e., no formal administration is necessary.

Technically, under the Probate Code, a decedent's property that passes by will or intestacy to the surviving spouse does so without any court proceedings. The Probate Code procedure simply provides a formal judicial determination (and order) that such property has in fact passed to the surviving spouse. In the case of community and/or quasi-community property interests already belonging to the surviving spouse, the procedure “confirms” such ownership.

The set-aside procedure is optional. Even so, it may be necessary (and desirable) for purposes of clearing “marketable” title, clarifying which property is subject to administration when only part of the estate requires administration, and determining the value of property in order to establish the extent of the surviving spouse's liability to creditors. Accordingly, in most cases, spouses qualifying for the set-aside will decide to obtain a formal “spousal property order.”

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