There are three siblings that inherited their sister's house upon her death, and then one of the brothers died without writing his will. The question is, can the remaining siblings still sell the house without proper documents?
Richard from FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. asks:My sister passed away and left her house to me and our two brothers. We decided to sell the house, but before we could, one of my brothers also passed away. We are his only family and he did not have a will. Can we still sell the house?
ANSWER: You will still be able to sell the house but there are some things that you need to process.
When a person dies, the court processes a gathering and distributing their property which is called "probate". When you probated your sister's property, her home was transferred to the three remaining siblings.
Each of the remaining three siblings owned a third of the property equally. All three of you need to work altogether to sell the house but since one of the remaining brothers died, it is impossible to do so now.
Even though the deceased brother doesnt have a wife or children, his property still needs to be probated. When a person left a will before he/she dies, their probate is called “testate,” and the will is used to know to whom the properties will be given.
But when there is no valid will, the estate will be “intestate,” and the law will provide default instructions.
In some scenarios, it can be complicated to know who will get the properties, but the hierarchy should be: decedent’s spouse, his/her children, and then the grandchildren. If the deceased person doesnt have a a wife or kids of his/her own, the decedent’s parents are next in line, followed by the siblings, and so on.
Next step is to get an attorney and file a probate case. Unlike most areas of law where people can file a lawsuit themselves, probate requires using an attorney. Just within a few months, you will be able to sell the house with the help of the estate’s representative. The money from the sale will still get split three ways, with your deceased brother’s share being distributed through the probate process.