How Do I Complete Probate?

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I am helping a friend with probate. There is no will. The property is joint tenants under his parents name. His father passed away 2 years ago now his mother has passed away. We filled out a probate but the court clerk states we have to do two separate probates. Is that correct? Or what are the proper steps?

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Normally, the effect of joint tenancy is that when one of the joint tenants dies, the other one owns the entire property, without the need for probate proceedings. There is usually some sort of document (including a death certificate) that needs to be filed or recorded, but not a full-blown probate.

Normally, a court clerk is not supposed to give legal advice. But they do know their own court’s procedures, so if they tell you something, I’d take it seriously.

So there are two possibilities. One is that the court clerk is mistaken, and you just need to find out the procedure in your area for dealing with the death of a joint tenant. The other is that your area has a local procedure that differs from what I’m familiar with, and you really do need to file two separate probate proceedings.

The easiest way to find out would be to consult with a local probate attorney. If you don’t want to hire one to do the whole probate, you should still be able to find someone who is willing to consult on this limited issue.

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Author: House Attorney