What happens to real estate that is held in both a husband and wife’s names?

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What happens to real estate that is held in both a husband and wife’s names?

My husband and I have been married for 39 years; neither of us has a Will. We each have children from previous marriages own 2 homes which, I believe, are in both our names. If he dies without a Will what happens to the real estate? If I die before him what happens to the real estate? And what about bank accounts that have both our names on them?

Asked on May 20, 2014 under Estate Planning, Missouri

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You are doing a little estate planning here and that is a great thing but I urge you to speak with an attorney in your area to formalize a plan.,  Assets that are jointly held by a husband and wife have a "right of survivorship" meaning that it passes to the living spouse upon the death of the other spouse. So if you die before him it goes to him and vice versa.  Then he or you get to do what you wish with the property once you inherit.  Here is the catch as to your children though.  If you die first he gets everything jointly held upon your death (as well as probably other assets in the marriage) but upon his death only his descendants would inherit and your children from a previous marriage (unless they have been adopted by him) will get nothing. So please, seek legal help.


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