If you sign a quit claim deed to a spouse for loan purposes how can you still have ownership rights?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If you sign a quit claim deed to a spouse for loan purposes how can you still have ownership rights?

I am signing a quit claim deed for my spouse because he is applying for the home
loan in his name only. How do we make sure that in the event that he dies I still
have a right to the property?

Asked on February 7, 2019 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can't entirely ensure your rights.
1) If you quitclaim to him, then you give up ("quit") all your rights to the home. You will not be an owner of the house and as such, if he dies before you, the home doesn't remain yours (as it would if you co-owned it as "joint tenants with right of survivorship") but instead goes through probate to be inherited.
2) Yes, he could will it to you, but wills can be changed at any time, without notice to the people inheriting: he could remove you from the will at some point.
3) Because California is a community property state, he can't disinherit your entirely (assuming that he wanted to at some point): you are entitled to your share of the community property (anything acquired during marriage), including a house. But he could leave his half to someone else if he chose. 
So if you quitclaim to him and he chooses to not leave the house solely to you, you might only get a share of or interest in it--to oversimply, a 50% interest in the house. And if he gives another an interest in it, that person could bring a legal action to force the sale of the home and take his/her share of the equity, even if you wanted to keep living there.

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