How do I transfer deed to my father's house to my name?

Deanna hoskins asked...

My father died four years ago, and I am his only child. I was left with his house. How do I transfer the deed to my name? I am really not financially able to pay for court, so what do I do?

Expert Answer

Liza Hanks is the founder and owner of FamilyWorks Estate Planning, a law firm with offices in Campbell and Los Altos, California, and the author of The Busy Family's Guide to Estate Planning (Nolo, 2007).

You will need to file a deed transferring the house to your name in the county where it is located.

It doesn't cost much to record a deed, usually $8 to $10 dollars. A title company should be able to prepare one for you at a minimal cost. Or you might be able to do it yourself with help from the county recorder's office; many such offices have a self-help website or pamphlet that shows you how to prepare a deed.

Another fact that weighs in this answer is HOW the house came to you. The new deed needs to state how you became the owner.

If your father had a will that was processed through probate, you should have a court order stating that the house is now yours, and can either record that to get the house into your name or prepare a deed that says the house is yours pursuant to that court order.

If the house was in a living trust, then the deed needs to say that your father was the trustee of the trust, that he died, and that you were the beneficiary of the trust and are now the owner.

If there was no probate proceeding and no trust, then the house isn't yours, legally, just yet. In such a case, you would need to check with your local probate court to find out how to start a probate proceeding to get the house transferred to you.