There can be a variety of reasons to own a home jointly with a parent or parents. You may have contributed to the purchase price, mortgage payments, property taxes, and maintenance. Or, you may have been added as a means to avoid a probate at the parent’s death.
The steps you need to take after the death of a joint owner of real property depend on the type of ownership interest involved. If the ownership interest is Tenants in Common (TIC), each party owns an undivided interest in the real property. This means each party’s individual interest would need to go through a probate process at the party’s death.
If the ownership interest contains a right of survivorship then a deceased party’s interest passes to the surviving party or parties at death. The real property would only need to go through probate at the surviving owner’s death. However, a deceased owner’s certificate of death should be recorded in the county where the real property is located. It is also a good idea to use a cover sheet that specifically references the legal description of the real property when recording a death certificate in deed records. This step helps to maintain a clear chain of title to the property and simplifies later title searches.
If you owned the home jointly with both your parents with a right of survivorship and both parents have passed away you need to record both parents’ death certificates. If a parent passed away prior to January 1, 2014, or passed away outside of Oregon, you can record the long form certificate of death. However, if a parent passed away in Oregon on or after January 1, 2014 you can only record the short form certificate of death. The short form certificate of death only indicates the fact of death, not the cause of death.
An experienced Estate Planning and Probate attorney can help you understand options for transferring real property at death and assist you with preparing and recording any necessary documents. Contact the Probate attorneys with the Law Offices of Nay & Friedenberg in Portland, Oregon at (503) 245-0894 to set an appointment.
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