Dad died without a will. He and our mother are both on the deed to the house, he continued to live in and were divorced a few years ago. What will happen to the house, will it go to her automatically? And would we have to go into probate? (not really sure what that means)
You should first review the divorce decree. If the decree awards the property to your father, he owned it in his own name at the time of his death and the house will have to be probated. If the decree awarded it equally between your parents, the divorce would have broken the joint tenancy into tenant in common interest and half of the house would have to be probated. Both of your parents should have been provided with a copy of the decree.
When a person dies with property in his own name without a will, the property passes through the state’s intestate succession laws. I am assuming that your father died a resident of Massachusetts. As your father died a single person, your mother would not inherit property under that statute. You should consult an estate and probate attorney familiar with the laws of your father’s domicile. You should provide the attorney with a copy of the divorce decree.
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