Financial Planning for Generation X & Y Women
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Expert Q&A Archive

Validating Father's Will
My father had a simple will and he passed away seven years ago. He had a great deal of land that he left to my siblings and me. However, I am now being told that I should have had the will validated a year after my father's passing. I didn't know anything about this validating stuff. I just assumed that if the will was in our names, then the property automatically transferred to us. I have been paying taxes on the land for seven years and it is still in my father. Is the will still valid? Is there something I can do or need to do to have the property changed over in our names? Please help?
Joan Koonce, Ph.D:
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Whether or not the will is valid depends on the laws of that state. I would suggest getting an attorney to help with the matter.
Rachel Lane, CFP:
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It depends on which you state you live in and the laws that govern locally. I would check with an attorney, to be sure. You could also search on line for your local Bar Association for example; Colorado has an excellent web site with lots of information about probate and "what to do when someone dies". All my best
Gail V. Marquet:
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The will should have been probated [the court process by which a will is proved valid or invalid] at the time of the father's death. Since that apparently wasn't done, the person should seek assistance from an attorney to have the property transferred.
Blake Allison:
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Thank you for your question. My first question back to you is “Who told you that you needed to have the will validated?” Is this someone you know and trust who can help you with the validation process? If you are not familiar with wills and estates, you should find a qualified attorney to help you with this legal matter. Secondly, this is an estate planning issue as well that will affect you and your siblings. Does anyone want to sell the land rather than have it switched into their names? Do you have an agreement how the property and or proceeds will be divided? Have you been paying taxes alone or have you had the support of your siblings? Are there any notes (loans) or liens on the property? Finally, once you have the legal and estate planning issues straightened out (including consensus with your siblings), the process to get it transferred will be more straight forward, but you have to agree to whom it will be transferred. Right? Hope this helps and best of luck.
Delores Lenzy - Jones, CPA, CIA:
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I suggest you contact an attorney on this question. They will be best suited to answer the question.
Connie K. Marmet:
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Consult an attorney in your state.
Jody Rorick, CPA:
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Yes, you need to find a lawyer in the state where the property is located to assist you with probating the will and making the transfer from his name to the beneficiaries.