What happens if title on home is not changed after a divorce and the spouse awarded the home dies?

My sister got divorced and was awarded her home. She was in the process of refinancing and getting the title changed to her name alone but she died 4 months after divorcing and the refinance/title change was not complete. Therefore, the title to the home was still in joint tenancy with her ex-husband. Does he have any legal rights to the home? Will the title situation cause any problems for the estate when it comes time to sell the home? Can the home be transferred to the ex-husband outisde of probate if the heirs wish it to be? Would the divorce decree show up in any title search?

Asked on June 23, 2012 under Estate Planning, Oregon

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

From what you have written about the passing of your sister and the dissolution decree giving her title to the home that you have written about, I suggest that the executor of her estate get a certified copy of the dissolution decree giving the home to your sister and record it with the county recorder's office where the home is located.

By doing this, the home which technically is an asset of your sister's estate is protected as such. I recommend that a Wills and trust attorney be consulted about administering your sister's estate.

I caution against transferring title to the home in contradiction to the dissolution decree and any Will or trust of your sister. If the dissolution decree is recorded on the home it will show up on a preliminary title report.


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