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In California, several years ago my wife and her dad bought…

Hello,In California, several years ago...
Hello,In California, several years ago my wife and her dad bought a house, and on the deed it said:
Dad's name / an unmarried man and Daughter's name / a single woman, as joint tenantsA few years ago, they refinanced the house and removed my wife from the loan and the deed, and added her brother instead.Now the deed says:
Dad's name / an unmarried man and Son's name / an unmarried manDad passed recently and he assumed that the house would go to his Son, and avoid probate.Is this not correct, since the deed is missing the words "as joint tenants"?There is no Will I believe...Any suggestions?Thanks for your help.James
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Answered in 4 minutes by:
3/17/2018
jb156200
jb156200, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 897
Experience: I am a Probate Attorney practicing in Tampa, Florida.
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Hello. My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney. I hope I may be of assistance with your question. Please remember to rate my service at the end of this session. Thank you!

Since the new deed did not state, "joint tenants", the father and son owned the real property as "tenants in common". What that means is each owned 50% of the property. The father's 50% ownership must go through probate. If there is no Will, that means it will go according to California intestate laws.

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California law states:

If the decedent was not married, the estate is distributed as follows:

1. To the decedent's children, who take in equal shares if they are in the same generation.
2. If there are no children or other issue (issue is the legal term for children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.) living, the estate goes to the decedent's parents.
3. If there are no parents living, the estate is distributed to the "issue of the parents." If the decedent had brothers or sisters, they will inherit the estate. If there are deceased brothers and sisters, and they had issue, the issue will inherit the share of the estate that the deceased brother or sister would have inherited.
4. If there are no brothers or sisters, the decedent's grandparents will inherit the estate.
5. If there are no living grandparents, then the "issue of the grandparents" will inherit the estate. This could include the decedent's aunts and uncles, or if there aren't any aunts and uncles, the decedent's cousins. Generally, the oldest generation that has surviving issue will inherit, but if there are deceased issue in that generation, their issue will inherit their share.
6. If there are no cousins, Probate Code section 6402 provides that the estate will be distributed to "next of kin in equal degree," generally meaning more distant cousins.

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Please let me know if you have an additional question. If not, please remember to rate my service. Thank you!

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
1) Is there any way to avoid probate?
2) The decedent has 3 children. Two Sons and One Daughter. The Daughter (my wife) would like her share of the equity to go to the two Sons, so they can buy a house together. So there aren't any issues, everyone agrees, we've just heard that probate can take a long time and we would like to sell the house sooner than later. Nobody will be paying the mortgage or living in it. If probate takes a long time, this becomes a problem... any suggestions? How long could probate typically take in this scenario?

A beneficiary can collect a decedent’s California real property by affidavit if the value is $50,000 or less and 6 months have elapsed from the death. If 50% of the property is more than $50,000.00 then you will have to go through probate.

Each child will inherit 33.33%. Each child may then dictate who inherits their 33.33% share of their father's share.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
OkProbate can take 6 months to 2 years maybe? (just your opinion of course)

You are looking at about 6 months. Now with that said, you may distribute the property during this 6 month period. You do not need to wait till the conclusion.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Oh, so we can sell the house without waiting 6 months?(it will be hard for us to pay the mortgage for that long with nobody living there...)

That is correct. You may begin marketing the property and accepting offers.

jb156200
jb156200, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 897
Experience: I am a Probate Attorney practicing in Tampa, Florida.
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thanks for your help!!

No problem! Thank you!

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