Home Buying in Milwaukee>Question Details

Barbie Doll, Home Buyer in Milwaukee, WI

My boyfriend and I live together. My name is not on deed, what rights do I have to the house if he dies. I will be paying 1/2 of the monthly mortgage

Asked by Barbie Doll, Milwaukee, WI Mon Oct 3, 2011

Background, my boyrfriend put down the down payment. I pay for 1/2 of the household expenses, plus some minor improvements within the house. The second half of the question, what rights to the house if my name is on the deed.

Help the community by answering this question:


Unless you are in his will, you will probably receive nothing, at all. If you haven't met with an attorney, you should speak with your boyfriend, then an attorney.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 3, 2011
Barbie, this is one of my favorite questions!

Ideally, people who buy property together will meet with an attorney and draw up a partnership agreement. People don't like to do this, because it can stir up disagreements, but they're better dealt with at the beginning than at the end!

Typically, you would have no rights to the property if he dies or is incapacitated. If he dies, the line of inheritance starts with his family - children, parents, et cetera. That's typical. If he is incapacitated, his family may have rights that you don't have, which isn't especially good news for you.

Conversely, if you should die, having no ownership in the property, your family would have no claim to the property, either.

I think that people who buy property together should have a formal agreement that deals with succession and dissolution - what happens if one of you wants or needs to sell it in ten years? Sure, it may not happen, but what if your family looks to you to pay medical bills for a niece or something?

This is true for anybody who buys a house with another person who is not their spouse, not just for people living together.

So, tell the boyfriend that it's time to get serious - that you need to draw up a formal partnership agreement concerning the house, and that the two of you need to have wills written up. Because, you are now people with Estates, and that's what people with Estates do.

All the best,
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 3, 2011

You may want to consult an attorney but I think bottom line is if you are not married and not on the deed you have no rights to the house regardless of what you put into it or pay for.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 3, 2011
If he dies without you in the will you have ZERO rights. You may have a hard time even getting your own property out of the house!

If your name is on the deed & he dies you'll have a right to pay for the home, but if you can't qualify for a mortgage you'll be out of the house.

So...make sure he has insurance with you as the beneficiary AND you're on the deed.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 15, 2013
NONE. Believe me, I've wasted the past 4 years and thousands in lawyer's fees after my boyfriend of 13 years suddenly died leaving no will and without putting my name on our shared properties. EVERYTHING( MY house and it's contents including pets MY clothing, my car, bank accounts...) were handed over to an estranged and bitter relative out for revenge. Be smart and protect your rights God forbid you ever have to face what I did.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 14, 2013
I am in the same sorta situation, we were together 23 years , have a daughter together who is 14, in a house 2 years he was buying, he died a mth ago , bad accident. my name on nothing. what should I do . I cant afford a lawyer. please advise. risa5@cox.net thanks
Flag Tue Jul 16, 2013
Your rights? None. Zilch. Nada. You were crazy. Why should you be on the deed if he put down the down payment and has the mortgage in his name and bears all the responsibility??
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 3, 2011
You and Ken should sit down with an attorney!!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 3, 2011
Hi Barbie,

I agree with the others, as well. This is definitely a legal question and so you should seek advice from an attorney.

Best regards,

Elva Wormley
C2 Financial Corporation
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 3, 2011
As the others advise, you do need to contact an attorney.

I'm not a lawyer, so what follows is not legal advice . . . just some observations and some issues that you might want to raise with your attorney.

First, it's possible that in some states, if you meet certain conditions, your relationship might be deemed a "common law" marriage. In that case--again, depending on the particular state, you might have some rights. However, don't depend on that. In fact, don't assume that at all. Assume that the courts would view you as two unrelated adults. Period.

The fact that you pay half the household expenses doesn't count for anything. The fact that you will be paying half of the monthly mortgage also doesn't matter from an ownership standpoint. In fact, even if you were on the mortgage, it wouldn't matter. Ownership is based on who is on the deed.

If your name were put on the deed, it would depend on how it was titled: tenants in common, joint tenants, etc. A lawyer can explain the differences and which would be best for you.

Another option to explore is your boyfriend's will. Even if you're not on the deed, your boyfriend could specify in his will that you will inherit the house. But check with a lawyer on how to best do that. Still, that's one way (if one of you, or both, is reluctant to get married) to have the house come to you.

Still another option is to set up a trust. There are a couple of different structures this could take--a simple living trust, a land trust, etc. An estate planner probably would recommend the former. In either case, though, what happens is that the property is put into the trust and, if certain conditions were met (in this case, a death) the property could flow to the other party. A trust may also offer some tax advantages.

Anyhow, it's too complicated to tackle yourself. But go to a good lawyer (preferably someone involved in estate planning) to take care of the matter.

Hope that helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 3, 2011
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
In order to best protect yourself, you really should be consulting with an attorney, he/she can better advise...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 3, 2011
I have a question... I have purchased my home after my divorce and the only name on the deed is MY NAME...

After 9 months I started dating and met this person and lived with him as a couple in my home for 20 years, we both were paying bills.
No income tax together, no bank account together, no credit cards together.

All mortgage payments have been made with my checking account.

We are splitting up and I know I am not entitled to anything because of the Florida Common Law.

Can he have any rights to my home?

I've purchase my home before meeting him and starting living together and the Deed is only on my name.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 7, 2016
Call a local title company and work with their attorney to answer any questions on this matter. Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 16, 2012
Barbie ~

It's very easy to get your name on the deed, but it will take going to an attorney. And of course the willingness of your boyfriend.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 4, 2011
I agree with the others. This is a legal question to discuss with an attorney. If you add yourself to the deed, your rights also depend on how you are added - tenants in common, joint tenancy with right of surviorship. I would think an attorney could help you and draft the quit claim deed for a minimal fee. The link contains some options on how title can be held. Good luck to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 3, 2011
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer