What to do if my husband died and willed his half of my home and other properties to his youngest daughter?

What are my rights ? My husband left his half of my home and other properties to his youngest daughter.45 years old. our farm equipment. I don’t want her owning half my home. We were married for32 years. I worked just like he did to buy the property. Do we have to sell?

Asked on October 4, 2017 under Estate Planning, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

IF you are on the title to the home as joint tenant with right of survivorship (often abbreviated a "JTROS"), then when your husband died, the home became yours in its entirety, was not part of your husband's estate, and could not be willed by him. That's because one such joint tenant passes, the property instantly becomes the sole property of the other, due to the right of survivorship. So in this case, your husband could not leave an interest to the home to his child.
However, if you were not on the title as a joint tenant with right of survivorship, then your husband could leave part of his interest in the home to his daughter. For example, if the home was only in his name, he was the only legal owner, no matter how long you lived there or what you contributed; in that case, while you state has laws (called the "elective share") which prevent one spouse from completely disinheriting another, those laws only guaranty you 1/3 of the property; therefore, you husband could leave you a 1/2 interest and his daughter a 1/2 interest (since you're still getting at least 1/3). In this case, unless you and the daughter agree to not sell the home, she could force the sale so that she gets her 1/2 of the equity.


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