If my husband and I were not married at the time we purchased our house, do I have to go through probate?

UPDATED: May 29, 2012

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If my husband and I were not married at the time we purchased our house, do I have to go through probate?

He has passed away and I have sold the house. However the deed still has my maiden name and his name on it. He had a will leaving everything to me. The bank papers for the property list our married names. Now they say in order to close on the sale of the home, I have to go through probate due to the maiden name on the deed. Is this correct? Do I need an expensive attorney I can’t afford to do this?

Asked on May 29, 2012 under Estate Planning, Wisconsin


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  The issue is how you legally held the house not your maiden name.  If you held the house with "rights of survivorship" then you inherited the property automatically upon his death. Husband's and wives hold that way under the law.  If the deed does not state that then you need to file a probate proceeding and be appointed as the executor to transfer the house.  Depending upon the value and your state law you may be able to do that failry easily and with out great expense.  Check your local bar association for helpful booklets, etc.  Good luck.

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