How a Will or Trust Determines Home Ownership After Death in California

When someone passes away, their assets, such as their home, become part of their estate. But who gets the ownership of the house? Who will make decisions regarding the property? If you are a resident of California, the answer depends on whether the deceased had a will or trust in place. In this blog post, we will discuss how a will or trust determines home ownership after death in California and what to do if you or a loved one has recently lost someone—Desert Law Group in Indian Wells can help!

Wills and Trusts in California

A will is a legal document that outlines a person’s wishes regarding the distribution of their assets after their death. On the other hand, a trust is a legal arrangement that allows a third party to hold the assets on behalf of the deceased or a beneficiary. In California, if a person has a will, it guarantees probate. The court first needs to validate it before distributing the assets. If there is no will, the court will follow California intestacy laws to distribute the assets. Either way, the court will oversee the lengthy process of probate.

How Home Ownership May Be Transferred with a Will

In California, the transfer of ownership of a house is a lengthy probate process when there is a will involved. If the deceased person named a beneficiary in their will, that person will receive the interest in the property after the lengthy and expensive process of probate. Our qualified Probate attorneys can help to navigate the maze of legal process and help to transfer the ownership of the property to the beneficiary named in the will. The beneficiary has the option to keep the home or sell it and receive the proceeds.

How Home Ownership Transfers without a Will

If the deceased does not have a will, their home will also go through the probate court. The court will appoint an Executor who will be responsible for overseeing the distribution of the deceased’s assets. In this case, the court will determine who gets the property based on California law. If the deceased had a living spouse, the spouse would typically inherit the property. If there is no spouse, then the property will be passed down to the children, and if there are no children, then the parents of the deceased become the beneficiaries. However, if there is no living spouse, children, or parents, then the court will sell the property and distribute the proceeds to the next of kin.

Probate Administration

The process of transferring ownership of an asset after someone passes away is called probate. During the probate administration, the court will review the deceased’s will to determine how asset distribution should take place. The court may also examine the validity of the will. If there are no objections, the court will grant ownership of the assets to the named beneficiaries. If there are any disputes, the court will have to resolve them before making a final decision and distribution.

Can the Executor of the Will Sell My Parents’ Home?

Yes, the Executor of the will can sell your parents’ home. Once the will is admitted to probate, the executor has a legal obligation to liquidate the assets of the estate if necessary. This is typically done to pay off any debts and distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries. If selling the property is the only feasible way to honor the estate’s debts, the Executor can sell the house. It is important to note that the Executor must follow the legal process for selling the property, which includes getting court approval.

Challenging the Disposition of a House When Its Sole Owner Dies

Sometimes, the disposition of a house becomes a subject of dispute. In California, there are scenarios where the surviving spouse, children, or parents may challenge the disposition of a house to a non-relative. A probate litigation attorney can help someone challenge the disposition of a home if they believe the disposition was unfair, illegal, or if they believe they should have received the property instead. In some cases, the family and beneficiaries may come to an agreement outside of the court and avoid the legal fees and time that come with a courtroom hearing.

Additional Considerations

It is worth noting that joint tenancy can also affect home ownership after death. Joint tenancy with the right of survivorship is when two or more people own property together with equal shares and no right to pass ownership to their heirs. If one owner passes away, the surviving owner will inherit the deceased’s share of the property.

Contact Desert Law Group Kimberly T. Lee Attorney at Law Today!

If you or a loved one owns a home in the Palm Springs area and are concerned about how it will be passed on after death, it is important to consult a probate attorney. An attorney can help you properly draft a will or trust or guide you through the probate process if there is no will or trust in place. Desert Law Group Kimberly T. Lee Attorney at Law is here to help. Contact us today at 760-481-1144 to schedule an estate planning consultation.