If i purchased a house with my wife and she dies and my name is not on the deed, do i have rights to the house.

Asked by biggsexxyy, North Carolina Wed Oct 10, 2012

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The Medford Team’s answer
The Medford…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Thu Oct 11, 2012
Contact an attorney in the state where the house is located, preferably an attorney with real estate and trust/probate expertise. We don't have enough information from you to be able to give you any definitive recommendation other than that. Additionally, as pointed out below, as Realtors, we cannot answer legal questions.
1 vote
Grace Hanamo…, Agent, Cupertino, CA
Wed Oct 10, 2012
Hey There Bigg

Thanks for your post. As the others have already noted, the answer to your question depends greatly on a number of factors (the laws of your state, how title was taken on the property, the will, trust and deposition of the property upon death...) all of which should be asked and answered by a qualified estate attorney in your state.

If you have troubles finding a good attorney in North Carolina, contact the Bar Association for the names of attorneys in your area that handle estate planning questions or you can also ask this question on a website called http://www.avvo.com. They usually have attorneys who can provide you with general information, and they also have a great referral service where you can find a great attorney in your area.

I will caution you to keep your private information private, and to make an appointment to find a great attorney to assist you.

Grace Morioka
Allison James
1 vote
Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Wed Oct 10, 2012
That depends on the laws of your state, and also how you took title, and what is in the will.

Since this is a legal question talk with your trusted estate planner.

May your wife live a long, healthy and happy life, and you as well.

Have an amazing day.
Web Reference:  http://www.terrivellios.com
1 vote
NormBoGraham, Both Buyer And Seller, Richford, NY
Wed Jun 4, 2014
I might be wrong here...but it's my observation, that this has changed in NC, during my lifetime. (where the NC Baptists dethrowned? lol).
Thus...regardless of "current" laws.....she and you might need to get a will to explicity define your wishes.
0 votes
NormBoGraham, Both Buyer And Seller, Richford, NY
Wed Jun 4, 2014
whoa....I looked at this more...and was shocked...at the complexity in NC.
here is my understanding....go down the priority list....which is likely wrong. (especially 1&3), and even adjustable via circumstances.
(as an fyi: when my father died, I knew it was his intent to have his wife inherit everything, so, I never questioned anything. Discuss things with the kids...let them know what to expect.).
Note: Her bills get paid first....die-ing is usually rather expensive. They take grand and expensive measures to save someone's life. Insurance may pay the brunt of the larger expenses, but they bicker like crazy over the small expenses, which add up quick. (My mom's stroke, gererated a pile of bills which filled a paper shopping bag, $200,000. Insurance paid perhaps about $190,000.....).

(0) Did you kill her? Go to jail..go directly to jail...do not collect $200 dollars.
Can you be considered responsible in her death, even if you did not directly kill her....Then everything is up for debate, and you could get nothing.
(1) did she really buy it after you were married..then it's a marital asset in NC, and this might change everything (as long as you pay the mortgage and taxes). You can even change the deed into your name. The county clerk can help you.
(2) does she have a will? Then it goes to whom she says.....
(3) Does she have a survivor clause on the mortgage? then it was her intent to have it go in that direction.
(4) did she die with parents but no descendants..... surviving spouse inherits 1/2 of your intestate real estate and a portion of your intestate personal property,
(5) did she die with (one child or descendants of that child)....surviving spouse inherits 1/2 of your intestate real estate and a portion of your intestate personal property
(6) did she die with (two or more children, or descendants of those children)... surviving spouse inherits 1/3 of your intestate real estate and a portion of your intestate personal property.

Of course, if you live there...it's difficult for anyone to kick you out.
0 votes
NormBoGraham, Both Buyer And Seller, Richford, NY
Wed Jun 4, 2014
This happens often, when the husband dies. But..here is my understanding....If she does not have a "will" then she has the default will. Thus, you own the home when she dies, after filing the paperwork (provided you didnt kill her). You can also wait 20 years to change it into your name, lol, you'd really only need to do that to sell it. As an fyi: My friends sister just got a house this way...she married a guy 30 years ago, and moved out in the first week (they did not see each other in 20 years). But when he died, she got his house, not his kids. Ah...snap. She spent the money in less then a year...but she also gets part of his social security now....
0 votes
Lee Jones, , San Jose, CA
Fri Sep 27, 2013
It depends on states laws. in some states it would go into probate unless she has a will and she leaves her interest to you and in some states she has a right to transfer her interest to whoever she wants.
0 votes
Eric Clayton, Agent, San Jose, CA
Mon May 6, 2013
Contact an attorney. We as real estate agents and realtors are not authorized to give legal advice. Sometimes it is a very fine line, but when we are in doubt, we should always guide to seek legal advice from an attorney.
0 votes
Rebecca Leht…, Agent, New Ipswich, NH
Wed Oct 10, 2012
This definitely depends on state laws, some states have homestead rights, but I'm not sure if they would cover you if your name is not on the deed also. I dealt with a customer one time from MA, that had lost her husband, continued to pay the mortgage using hers/his finances and then decided that she wanted to sell and get a smaller place. The bank told her that she had no rights to sell due to not being on the deed or mortgage. Just a small thought to ponder. Have a great afternoon.


Rebecca Lehtonen
Re/Max Town Square
603-878-3242 x105
603-966-6774 (Cell)

Each Office Independently Owned and Operated
0 votes
Barbara Stew…, Agent, Los Gatos, CA
Wed Oct 10, 2012

Your simple question is actually very complicated depending on the state you live in, the way your wife currently holds title to the property, if you have an estate plan in place and the terms of the plan or if you plan to go through probate, the value of the property at time of purchase and time of a spouse's death, year of the death and tax code in effect at the time of death and your marital status at the time the property was purchased. Any one of these factors could change the answer to your question.

The advice below was appropriate. If you are anticipating being the surviving spouse and even if you are not anticipating anything in the near future, you should consult an estate attorney and pull the pieces of your estate plan together so that both of you are protected in the event of an unexpected death.

If you need advice from a Santa Clara County, California, estate attorney, I have a reference that has served several of my clients well. If you are living in North Carolina, then you should consult an attorney there.

Kind Regards,
Barbara Stewart, Broker
Los Gatos CA
(408) 406-1343 Cell
www. BarbaraStewart.com
DRE 01273970
0 votes
charles butt…, Agent, san jose, CA
Wed Oct 10, 2012
This is a legal question. As Real Estate Brokers we are not permitted to answer legal questions. We must refer you to an Attorney for answers to legal questions.

The rights that you have in the property depend on the law in your state, where the property is located.

I see that you are from North Carolina. I recommend that you talk with a Real Estate Attorney who is licensed to practice law in the State of North Carolina.

If the property is located here in California, where your question is posted, I recommend that you consult an Attorney who is licensed to practice law in the State of California.

Thank you,
Charles Butterfield MBA
Real Estate Broker/REALTOR
American Realty
Cell Phone: (408)509-6218
Fax: (408)269-3597
Email Address: charlesbutterfieldbkr@yahoo.com
0 votes
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