Can we avoid going through probate court and automatically inherit my mom’s vacation home?


My mom died and my brother was the “executor” of the estate and his name was on the deed of her main house.  Now there was no will but all of her assets and bills were taken care of by my brother. This is in Massachusetts, but she had a vacation home in NH. I was told we would have put that home through a separate probate or wait a certain number of years and it automatically is inherited by her children. Then we could have my brothers and sister sign that they don’t want it and put it in my name. If we really don’t have to go through probate, how long do we have to wait until it is automatically inherited and we can put it in my name?


The probate process must be endured for any asset that your mother owned in her name alone. No amount of time can take away the probate requirement.   In New Hampshire, the creditors of your mother’s estate have two years to file a claim against your mother’s estate for an unopened probate. Had your mother’s estate not be probated, the creditor could petition the court to begin the probate process.
If your mother’s estate has no creditors because your brother has paid her debts, it would be prudent for the family to probate her estate now. Several problems can arise by waiting. One example is that one of your siblings dies before signing his interest over to you. If that happened, the sibling’s estate would also have to be probated and you would have to convince his heirs to sign over their interest. Another is that if you decided to sell the property you would not be able to close unless the closing attorney could reference your mother’s docket number within the probate court.

I suggest that you consult with an attorney licensed in New Hampshire.

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The attorneys at The Beliveau Law Group provides legal services for estate planning (wills and trusts), Medicaid (planning and applications), probate (estate and trust administration), business law (formation and operation), real estate (residential and commercial), taxation (federal and state), and civil litigation (in connection with these practice areas). The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida, Waltham, Massachusetts, and Salem, New Hampshire.

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