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When Only One Property Owner is Deceased

What do I need to know when only one property owner is deceased?

We often handle closings where there are multiple owners and one of the owners has died.  Here are a few tips that will assist with this type of listing.

First, you will want to confirm the sellers’ tenancy on the Deed.   In Maryland or the District of Columbia, if your owners hold the title as Joint Tenants or Tenants by the Entirety, there is a right of survivorship in their tenancy.  As such, by operation of law, the interest of the deceased owner passes to the remaining owners on the property.  In this scenario, all we would need is a copy of the death certificate for closing. Similarly, in Virginia, there is a right of survivorship as long as the deed lists this right.

However, if your owners hold title to the property as Tenants in Common or if there is no tenancy listed on the deed, there is no survivorship.  Therefore, the interest of the deceased owner passes to his/her estate.  In DC and Maryland, we will need to confirm that an estate was opened.  Further, we will need proof that a Personal Representative has been appointed to convey the property.  In Virginia, we need a copy of the list of heirs that was filed in the county where the property existed.

Federal Title can confirm the tenancy on the current deed and answer any questions about required estate documents.  Please reach out to one of our attorneys at for assistance.

agents, Buying 'n' Selling, deed, real estate, sellers, Tips or Advice