Are you required to have an attorney?
No, you are not required to have an attorney but having an experienced attorney can make the real estate transaction proceed in a smoother fashion and help clear impediments that would prevent a sale.
Upon my parents death, do I have to first go to probate court to sell or transfer the house?
In most cases, yes, but there are circumstances that may allow you to sell or transfer the house without the need to file with the Surrogates Court to obtain fiduciary letters. Generally, if all of your siblings are alive and all are over 18 years of age and competent, you may be able sell the house without the need of fiduciary letters from the Surrogates Court. This is also true if you want to transfer the house from your parents’ names to you and your siblings, thereby putting the deed into all of your names.
What is the difference between tenants in common, jointly owned property with rights of survivorship and tenants by the entirety?
When the deed does not provide for any designation, the parties own the property as tenants in common. Upon death, the deceased party’s share goes to his/her estate. When a deed has the language “jointly”, “joint tenancy” or “rights of of survivorship”, the deceased party’s share goes to the survivor on the deed. “Tenants by the entirety “ or “husband and wife” is similar to a joint tenancy but it designates that the owners on the deed are married and the deceased party’s share goes to his/her spouse.
I own property with someone else but they do not pay their share of the expenses. Can I be reimbursed?
Yes, co-owners are all responsible to share in the cost of maintaining the property. This includes payment of taxes, heat, necessary repairs, and basic landscaping. You can collect at the time of the sale and as a last option, you may force the sale of the premises in court, know as a partition action, where you can collect their share of the expenses paid.