How To Transfer Property After Death Of A Parent

Last Updated on May 11, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team

When you lose a parent, it is often a very difficult and traumatic time.

Not only have you lost a loved one, but suddenly you have a lot of paperwork to deal with, and regularly even court appearances too.

Even if your parents had a will, there are suddenly lots of different things to handle, and it is hard to say the least.

If your mother or father have left you a property in their will, then this property will have to be transferred into your name.

This applies for both commercial and residential properties. But, how do you do this?

Well, this is usually something that you will not know unless you have experienced it. But, if you want to find out how to transfer property after the death of a parent, you can find out in this guide. So, keep on reading.

How To Transfer Property After Death Of A Parent

Can A House Stay In A Deceased Person’s Name

First things first, let’s take a look at whether, or not, a house can stay in the name of a person who has passed away. In short, no, it cannot.

Once a person dies, and the death is officially registered, then it sets a series of events into motion.

When people die they typically leave behind a number of assets, and this includes their home. What happens next will depend on whether, or not, the individual had a will.

Most people now create a will. In their will that person will specify who they want their assets to go to upon their death.

All of their assets could go to one person, or they could be divided between a number of different people.

In the weeks and months after that person’s death, their final Will will be investigated by a lawyer, and the rightful heirs to their assets will be contacted.

During this time the property will remain in the name of the deceased. If there is not a will, then the assets will be designated to the next of kin.

Once the person who is set to inherit the house is notified, the property will then be transferred into their name. This transfer will make the heir the legal owner of the house, and it will officially be their property.

What Happens When A Parent Dies Without A Will?

In most of the Western world, when a parent dies without a will, their assets will be inherited by their next of kin.

This is because of next-of-kin inheritance rights, and these rights are legal rights in most of the US.

When you first think of next of kin, it is easy to immediately think of children, but this isn’t always the case.

For example, if a parent is married (even if it isn’t to the mother/father of their children), their spouse will be their next of kin. So, in this scenario, the assets will be inherited by the spouse.

However, if a parent without a spouse dies, then their next of kin will be their children. Traditionally, the next of kin would be the eldest child, but it is now accepted that all the children of the deceased are their heirs.

So, if your only-surviving parent dies without a will in place, their assets will be split equally between you and your siblings. If you are an only child, then you will inherit everything.

Even though this is the case, most people choose to make a will regardless. This is because when they write a will they can specify who inherits what assets.

So, with a will, a parent could give one child their house, and the other all their liquid assets.

If you have been left a property by a parent who has sadly passed away, it is likely that you will want to know how to transfer this property into your name. Let’s find out.

What Happens When A Parent Dies Without A Will?

How To Transfer Property After Death Of A Parent

There are 2 situations through which you might need to transfer a property after the death of a parent.

They are through trust and through probate. Depending on which situation you are experiencing, the process will be slightly different.

Transferring A Property From Trust

If the property that has been left to you is in trust, here is how to transfer ownership:

  1. Once you receive notification from the trust regarding the death of your parent, you should begin by reading through the trust documents in order to understand them.
  2. Contact the designated trustee via email or telephone. You will be able to find out who the designated trustee is by checking the trust documents. The trustee will be the individual designated to sell and distribute your parent’s assets.
  3. Before things can go any further, the trustee must pay off any debts and taxes that are owed on the estate. In order to do this, some assets may need to be liquidated.
  4. Complete the ‘transfer’ documents that are supplied to you by the trustee. Once these have been completed, the trustee will file these documents, and the property will become yours.

Transferring A Property Through Probate

Alternatively, if the property that you are entitled to is going through probate, here is what you need to do:

  1. Read the will of the parent that has passed away. This can be difficult both emotionally and intellectually, so it is best to have somebody that you love and trust with you when you do this.
  2. Next, you will need to calculate the combined value of all your parent’s assets. This can be a difficult process, and a lot of people will seek the support of an accountant for this process.
  3. Then, you will need to seek the personal representative of your parent’s estate. This person will usually be specified in the will.
  4. Once you have found them, make contact, and together you will be able to choose the correct probate court.
  5. Submit the will to the probate court, and then submit your application for probate. The probate court will be able to supply you with the necessary documents. But be prepared to pay some fees in the process.
  6. Hire an attorney to assist you with the administration of the estate. Once you have probate, passing inheritance onto individuals can be difficult, so hiring an attorney will really help.
  7. Complete, and submit, the ‘transfer’ documents for your area. This allows you to become the legal owner of the property.


In short, transferring property after the death of a parent can be very emotional, but it often isn’t as difficult a process as you might expect. To find out more about how to do this, check out the guide above.