Usually the person who becomes the heir of a property and who owns the house is spelled out in the will of the deceased. The will should mention someone as Executor of the Estate, and that person is responsible for the property. After someone dies, the heir will probate the will to initiate the process of owning the property or house. However, if the deceased did not have a will or did not include the property in the will, then there are other guidelines for determining who is the heir of the property.
Tenants in Common and Heir Property
When a property is an Heir Property, it means that two or more people own the same land. These people are usually related and had an ancestor in common who died without probating their will. The two or more people that own the property are referred to as “tenants in common”.
How This Happens to a Property
When a property owner dies without including the property in a will (or dies without a will entirely), the property can become an heir property with tenants in common. State laws decide who the owner of the property is, and this can include siblings, spouses, parents and children. If any of those direct relatives is also deceased, then the children of the deceased relative would inherit a portion of the property instead.
How is Ownership Determined?
State law determines who owns the property, but generally speaking, all living and direct descendants have a right to the property. Obviously, this can get pretty complicated. For example, what if one heir wants to sell the property but the others do not want to sell? In some cases, one person wanting to sell can force the others to sell as well.
If you are a tenant in common with one or more people for a property, it is important to communicate and try to come to a formal legal agreement between the hairs as soon as possible. The agreement can address potential issues such as what the tenants in common will do if one person wants to sell. For example, if several heirs want to sell and one does not, it might be possible for the one heir to buy the shares of the owners and retain complete ownership of the property. Another solution would be to partition the property.