What Happens To The House If My Spouse Dies?

Question: When I married my husband already owned a house. I am not on the title. What happens to the property if he dies?

Answer: It’s possible for husbands and wives to own property separately, thus you need to consider several questions:

  • Does your husband have a will. Has he left the property to you?
  • Do you hold title jointly as husband and wife? If yes, you may each have a 100% interest in the property — if he passes away you automatically own the property.
  • Are you in a community property state? Being in a state with community property laws may automatically afford you certain rights.
  • Is there any reason to believe your husband may not competent — drug use, alcoholism, insanity, senility, etc. If yes such conditions can impact his ability to make any decisions regarding the disposition of the property.
  • By any chance is your husband a bigamist — it happens.
  • Does your husband have a ???,??”living will– in case he becomes incapacitated?

Family dynamics can be fraught with controversy — and money and property are often at the heart of nasty disputes. In this case, you raise an important question, something which should be discussed with your husband. That your name is not on the title to your home may simply be oversight. Or, your husband may not know how to change the ownership.

At the very least, you and your husband should have a will and a living will to protect your assets. You can be added to the title in most areas in exchange for good consideration — not cash, but love and affection. For details, speak with an attorney in the jurisdiction where the property is located. Do this now — before the lack of a will or living will becomes a problem.

Syndicated originally by Content That Works and posted with permission.

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