In the event of my husband’s death, what happens to assets that are solely in his name?

We have a money market account and a stock market account, which are both solely in my husband’s name. The house note is also in his name but the deed is in both of our names. If he dies and we don’t have a Will, what happens?

Asked on September 17, 2014 under Estate Planning, Alabama

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Since you do not mention a Will, I presume there is none. In that event, your husband's estate will pass according to the intestate succession laws in the state in which he is domiciled as of the date of his death. Basically, the surviving spouse and children share in the estate (typically 1/3-1/2 and 2/3-1/2 shares, respectively). However, any personal property that has a listed beneficairy, will go to that beneficiary; MMA's and stocks can be among this latter type property. If no beneficary is listed, then it goes into the estate with the deceased's other asets. As for the deed to the house, since both of your names are on it and you are married,as a rule such property usually passes to the survivng spouse. However, the property is still subject to the mortgage note, which you will have to continue to pay.

Frankly, there are many variables that can come into play which can change the above answer. Accordingly, you would be well advised to consult with a local probate attorney regarding all of this.


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