Hired a lawyer to add to the deed of the house, lawyer got us a letters of authority for personal representative

Asked from Boston, Massachusetts:

Dad died in 2020, mom was not on the mortgage or deed. Dad did not have a will, or look over this information before passing.

We went to a lawyer asking to be added to the deed, so my mom could sell the house. (She’s been paying the mortgage for almost 3 years now, but can’t afford to keep doing it for another 2)

Instead of putting her on the deed he got us ‘letters of authority for personal representatives’ paper signed by a magistrate. What does this mean for my mom? Does she need to get another lawyer to add her to the deed? Or can she now contact the mortgage company without fear of them removing her?

ANSWER BY MARGARET CROSS-BELIVEAU:

Dad’s individual ownership ceased upon his death. Now his probate estate owns the property. Your attorney is correct to have opened a probate estate for Dad. Dad’s creditor period has passed since it has been a year from his date of death. However, Suffolk Probate Court is infamous for time delays. There are a few types of probates that can be opened, but the attorney can only go as fast as it takes the Court to approve. Also, he may be planning to grant a deed of distribution to your mother after the estate is closed so she can sell it herself. If she is planning on selling it from the estate and having the cash distributed to your mother, her name won’t appear on the deed. You should follow up with the attorney.

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Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice.

Beliveau Law Group: Massachusetts | Florida | New Hampshire

The estate administration attorneys at the Beliveau Law Group provide legal services for probate, estate administration, and trust administration. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.

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