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Does a house need to pass through probate if...?

Scenario: My parents bought a house and had joint tenancy. My father passed away and sole ownership passed to my mother. My mother wanted to refinance the mortgage for a better rate but needed my income to do it. I signed on as a co-borrower (and was also an occupant of the house). My mother passed on. We never filed a new deed adding me to the title. My question is this... was I automatically added to the title as a co-borrower or does the house need to pass through probate to secure title?

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Submitted Fri, 07/14/2017 - 08:10

No, you were not added to the title, so it will need to go through probate. And it's better to do it now than when you might want to sell it, as court delay could result in a delay of any sale. If you would like assistance, please feel free to call me at 617-859-8966 or email me at

Submitted Mon, 07/17/2017 - 09:45

Thank you for your question and please accept my condolences on the loss of both parents.

Unfortunately, because title to the property did not change hands during your mother's life, it will need to pass through probate. You will not be automatically added to title of record, the property will pass to the beneficiaries of your mother's will or - if there was no will - then to her heirs under the laws of intestacy.

This is fairly routine and should not be terrible cause for concern. I would be happy to speak with you regarding next steps. If you would like assistance, please feel free to call me at 617-357-4898 or by email at

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