My name is not on the title to our house and my husband has passed with no Will or trust, what are my rights?

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2010

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My name is not on the title to our house and my husband has passed with no Will or trust, what are my rights?

My husband passed in May. We are finding no Will or trust. The deed to what I though was “our” home is under his name only. I’ve lived in the house for 18 months. He owes more on the house than what its worth. Can I walk away? If I wanted to keep the house, how do I go about doing this? He has no other assets so we did not start probate.

Asked on July 16, 2010 under Estate Planning, California


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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  It is a bit difficult to answer this question without knowing more about your situation.  Did you purchase the house when you got married?  Was it his before you got married?  Does he have children outside your marriage?  If the house was purchased prior to, but in anticipation of the marriage, then it can be presumed to be community property regardless of the name on the title. Because he died without a Will the Intestacy statute in your state will apply.  You need to begin a probate proceeding to transfer title.  I would suggest that you seek legal help with all of this.  Good luck.  

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