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How to Probate a House With a Relative Still in It FAQs

When someone passes away, before his (or her) property can be distributed to the beneficiaries named in the will, it is necessary for the estate to go through a process called probate. Probate is managed by the person named as executor in the will and is overseen by a probate court judge. Oftentimes estates include real estate such as houses. If at the time of the decedent’s death a relative of the decedent lived in the house, probate may become complicated. If you have a concern related to how to probate a house with a relative still in it, immediately contact an experienced Chicago estate administration lawyer who can help you through the process.

What Happens During Probate?

The executor has a variety of responsibilities related to winding up the affairs of the decedent and distributing the estate assets to the beneficiaries named in the will. Probate involves the executor identifying and inventorying all assets that were in the decedent’s estate at the time of his death, such as the home the decedent owned. The executor must also pay estate bills, settle claims, and ultimately distribute estate assets to the beneficiaries mentioned in the will. If there is a house as part of the estate, it is up to the executor to ensure that the property goes to the person legally entitled to it.

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What if a Relative is Living in the House?

If someone is living in the house at the time of the decedent’s death, the executor must determine if that person has any ownership interest in the house. Real estate can be owned a number of different ways. For example, the decedent’s house may be titled to him alone, or the house may be titled to the decedent along with one or more persons as tenants in common or joint tenants.

As a Chicago estate administration lawyer will explain, if the house is in the name of the decedent alone, then the executor must transfer ownership of the house to the person to whom the decedent left the house in his will. If the relative living in the house was not given the house in the will, then the executor has the legal obligation to begin eviction proceedings if the relative does not choose to leave on his own.

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What Happens With a House During Probate if the Decedent Owns the House as a Joint Tenant?

If the decedent owned the house as a joint tenant, then the house is not subject to probate. Instead, the by operation of law the decedent’s interest in the house will transfer to the other joint tenants. Oftentimes this is the spouse. If the relative living in the house does not have an ownership interest in the house as a joint tenant, then the other owners have the right to evict the tenant. However, this process would happen outside of probate.

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What Happens With a House During Probate if the Decedent Owns the House as a Tenant in Common?

If the decedent owned the house as a tenant in common, then the decedent’s interest in the hose would be subject to probate. The executor has the responsibility of transferring the descendant’s interest in the house to whomever the decedent bequeathed his interest. If the person living in the house did so based on the permission of the decedent, and that person does not have an ownership interest in the house, then the executor has not right to demand that the relative leave. To learn more about how to probate a house with a relative still in it when the decedent had a tenant in common ownership interest, contact an experienced estate administration attorney in Chicago.

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Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

The details as to how to probate house with a relative still in it can be complicated. It is important that the executor first go to the recorder of deeds in Chicago to learn how the house is registered. The manner in which the house is titled will determine what steps the executor needs to probate the house. If the house is occupied by a relative or another person who has no ownership interest in it, there are special issues that the executor should consider. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have extensive experience representing beneficiaries, heirs, and executors in estate matters related to probate. We are here to help. Contact an estate administration attorney serving Chicago in our office at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent individuals and estates throughout Chicago.

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