What rights doI have in a house that my wife of 25 years had put in her name?

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What rights doI have in a house that my wife of 25 years had put in her name?

My wife and I just bought our first house in NY state. Actually, she bought it, since she insisted that only her name be on the mortgage/title/deed, etc. I reluctantly went along with it, now to my regret now. What are my options? What security, if any, do I have?

Asked on September 21, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

New York case law is quite clear that property purchased during a marriage and with marital funds is considered marital property for purposes of distribution in a divorce.  Unless she can show that the money came from an inheritance or other separate property to purchase the house whose name on the deed does not matter for purposes of ownership.  Now, it will matter for purposes of inheritance.  By that I mean that houses owned by husbands and wives generally pass from one to the other by operation of law when one of the parties passes away.  If the house does not have your name on it with rights of survivorship it will pass through probate.  That means higher estate taxes, etc.  Speak with her about it all.  Maybe go to an estate planner to help open up the discussion to re-file a deed.  Good luck.


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