My mother recently died and she owned a house. Can a quit claim deed be done to prevent probate?
People can sign a quit claim deed to transfer property, and possibly avoid probate. This would be part of an estate planning strategy. The owner of the real property being conveyed would need to sign the deed with a notary to be able to record the deed. So this is something they need to do before they die.
After death, the decedant’s property is transferred according to state law to their heirs. This is knows as intestate succession. You can research the statutes in your state using Legal.com’s legal research tool.
Here are some links to estate legal forms and self-help law books:
Many people think that probate is bad and should be avoided. That isn't necessarily true. First off, it doesn’t need to cost and arm and a leg. You can shop for attorneys who are willing to keep costs under control. In California, for example, the probate code generously rewards attorneys. But if your case is simple, an attorney might be willing to charge less.
Probate is also a little like bankruptcy in that creditors of the decedent are given a finite time to file their claim. After the claims deadline expires, they can no longer file a claim against the estate. A lot of creditors fail to timely file their claims in probate cases.
You can do your own probate proceeding assisted by self-help books to save the attorney’s fee, but it can be a bigger project than you'd want to take on.
You might want to talk to some attorneys who handle probate work to see if the fee they would charge is worth it to you. Search probate lawyers in your city and state.
Best, — Dave