How to get legal co-ownership of the marital home?

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How to get legal co-ownership of the marital home?

My husband is paying on a mortgage for the home that we live in. He had the house before we got married so my name is not om the loan. Should it be? We are making plans to pay off the mortgage. Iy name is not on the loan. If we payoff the mortgage and own the house, how can I get my name on the house in case something happens to him? He would want our home to be mine.

Asked on March 17, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First of all, having your name on a mortgage does not establish ownership rights.  Having your name on the deed does.  Additionally, a spouse has certain limited ownership rights if the other spouse dies (elective share, etc).  That all having been said, perhaps the easiest and best thing to do, is to have your name put on the title to the property (the deed) along with your husband's as "tenants by the entirety".  In this way, if your spouse dies, title automatically vests 100% in you as the sole owner.

Note:  The only kind of property spouses can hold in a tenancy by the entirety is their residence.  Additionally, the deed must say that the property is being transferred into a tenancy by the entirety, and not into a joint tenancy or a tenancy in common (which are the other 2 ways of co-owning property).  Finally, the deed must also name both the husband and wife and specify that they’re husband and wife.

The fact is that there are other ways of handling a situation such as yours.  Perhaps now is the time to consult with an estate planning attorney as to all of your options.


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