When someone dies, the estate he or she leaves behind goes through probate, a legal process that usually involves proving a will is valid, identifying any property belonging to the estate, paying any outstanding debts and taxes, then distributing property according to the will or the law of the state.
Title-related problems are very common in probate cases. In many cases, property title is vested differently than heirs assumed, often when a spouse or relative has an ownership interest in the home. While the issue may be corrected easily by filing an affidavit death of joint tenant or a quitclaim deed, ownership issues can become very complex, very quick. Another common issue is a lien turning up on a property that heirs assumed had a clean title.