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An object at rest will stay at rest unless an outside force acts upon it. Does the same hold true for title to property after the owner passes away?
The answer is, it depends. Generally, if a property is paid off (meaning there are no mortgages, taxes, liens, or other claims against it) and the property taxes are paid every year, then title to a property may remain in the name of the late owner until someone acts to change that.
Forces that may alter title can include:
1. The commencement of probate proceedings,
2. The filing of a death certificate for a property owned with rights of survivorship,
3. The filing of a death certificate for a property with remaindermen,
4. The commencement of foreclosure for mortgages in default (read this article to learn more),
5. The commencement of foreclosure for unpaid taxes or assessments,
6. A court order, such as those in a quiet title action or, in post-judgment enforcement proceedings, an order to levy property.
This is not an exhaustive list. Speak with an experienced attorney to learn more about which actions you should take to ensure that property passes to the beneficiaries of your choosing or to determine how to ensure title passes for property held in a deceased person’s name.
Published: Jan 31, 2023
Updated: Jan 31, 2023
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