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Q&A: My Mom left her house to my brother and I. They have both died, but my niece's names ar

Below is a recent question that I answered on Avvo:

Attorney Thomas B. Burton answer to deed question


My Mom left her house to my brother and I. They have both died, but my niece's names are on there. How can I delete their names?

I have paid taxes, repairs, etc: on this house for 18 years and nieces have never paid a dime. I want this house to be left in only my children's names.

Attorney Thomas B. Burton Answer:

You will need to examine the title to the home carefully. If your mother left the home to you, your brother, and your nieces, then all of your names should be listed on the deed. If she left the home only to you and your brother, then it should just be your and your brother's name on the deed. It is possible she left the home to you and your brother as a life estate, with a remainder interest to your nieces, but I cannot be sure from the facts given. I suggest that you speak with a qualified estate planning attorney who can examine the deed for you and give you a legal opinion as to who owns the property and what your options may be (if any) for re-titling the property, or buying out your nieces.

I often answer questions related to my firm's practice areas…wills, trusts, estate planning, business law, and real estate...on Avvo is a website that seeks to help consumers connect with attorneys who provide the services they need. In addition, Avvo offers a free forum where potential clients can ask questions and receive short answers from attorneys who specialize in those legal practice areas. When I receive a question from someone in an area of law in which I do not practice, I often refer them to the Avvo forums as a way to get some brief guidance on their topic. Many times the consumer receives some very helpful initial information and may also be advised to seek the services of a local attorney to further explore and resolve their issue. I feel that by participating in these forums I am providing a useful service to the public, and helping to bridge the gap between consumers who need civil legal advice but either cannot afford to pay for services or do not know where to begin to get their legal questions answered. I decided to share some of my answers on my blog when I feel that they would be particularly useful to others who may have similar questions.

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