How can I transfer my parent's property to my sister without a will?

3 answers | Last updated: Mar 28, 2017
Fdheath asked...

Both my parents has passed away without a will, how can I get the deed transfer into my sister name who lives in the home in chicago? What do she do now?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

Transferring the property will probably not be as hard as it sounds. But it will likely require you to do a bit of footwork and paperwork.

The best place to start is with the deeds or title office that is closest to the place where the property is located. Your sister should call and ask exactly what she needs to do. In some locales, she could transfer the property simply by filling out some paperwork and presenting some documents such as a copy of your parents' death certificates and some documents that identify her.

In other places, she may need to get a copy of the property deed from the title office "“ and then go to the local probate court to open a simple or summary probate of your parents' estate, even if there is no other property left to speak of. Most courts now have some good self-help materials available to help walk her through the process, and some even have people dedicated to such help.

So I'd advise your sister to call both the title company and the probate court.

If the situation seems too complicated for her to handle on her own, she may want to hire a probate attorney for this very specific task.

Community Answers

The kingbird answered...

Here in Kentucky, this problem has becoome more expensive that the properties involved. My brother-in-law died somewhat unexpectedly, but all he had at the time was his older pickup truck. Members of the family wanted to keep the old wreck. The problem is he had acquired a number of traffic tickets, fines, and other legal expenses in the last two years of his life, and it seems that the fines, etc. take presecendence over any other use of any assets. As things stand right now, we will just have to sit the old truck out in the field to rust down.

Geo2015 answered...

Obviously, Miss Repa knows her stuff... but as far as I'm concerned, to transfer a house without it being in a Will after a parent has died, I'd rather use an estate or real estate attorney than deal with deeds or a title office near where the deceased parent's property is located, as Miss Repa suggests. For me, so many little things can be missed or go wrong during the transfer effort, that I don't think it's worth saving a few bucks doing it by our self without an experienced lawyer. A decently priced lawyer is well worth the expense, to make sure nothing goes wrong now or 5 or 10 years later, with respect to details you or I wouldn't know what to look out for. Also, even if there is no Will at all a lot of heirs will use a piece of inherited real estate like that to get a loan on inheritance, to borrow against their inheritance, to get a nice sized probate real estate loan… for all sorts of purposes, to hire their own lawyer, or to invest in an immediate opportunity, to take care of an emergency, whatever…. once it’s been established that the heir or several heirs are to inherit the house or property. Many middle class heirs, caught waiting on a long probate without a great income or large savings, frequently decide to get a loan on property that is to be inherited, to borrow against their inheritance to get as large an inheritance cash advance, or probate cash advance, as they can – and so they start researching estate loans, probate loans, probate advances, inheritance loans, trust fund cash advances or trust fund loans if there is also a trust involved, from one of the more established inheritance loan companies, estate loan or probate loan companies, that deal with super fast probate real estate loans or estate advances, large and small inheritance advance loans and inheritance advance assignments — and those heirs will submit, with blazing speed, inheritance cash advance, probate advance and probate loan applications to various online probate loan and trust fund loan companies that provide loans on inheritance, inheritance loan advances, probate cash advance funds, inheritance loans in advance, and loans against inheritance, from established inheritance advance companies like, or inheritance loan companies like or It’s just another way to get some use out of a generally older house that will probably take some time to sell. Especially in this market these days. Rather than sitting there and watch low offer after low offer be declined – the heirs can at least use that probate property to generate a good sum of cash for themselves. Better than watching it just sit there accomplishing nothing, which is sort of like watching paint dry. If you know what I mean.