Feb 08, 2011
Dear Liza: My mother passed away in April 2010. Her home (and a separate parcel of land) was left to my brother and me. We have not hired an attorney to transfer the title into our names. I was told that we can sell the property with the letters of testamentary only. Is this correct or do we need to hire an attorney to transfer the title? That sounds right, but I don't have all of the facts. If your mother died with a Will, and the Will says that the property is to go to you and your brother, you need to go through the probate process in your state before you can sell the property. Letters Testamentary are granted by the court during that process--basically they say who has the legal authority to represent the estate and do things necessary to settle the estate like pay bills, sell assets, and file taxes. If your mother had created a living trust, and the house was owned by that trust, you wouldn't need to go through probate, and you could hire an attorney to assist you in this transfer.