If something happened to my mom, would the property go straight to my dad?

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If something happened to my mom, would the property go straight to my dad?

It is soley in her name; my dad did a quit claim deed.

Asked on October 8, 2018 under Estate Planning, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Are they married? Is there a will? When was the home bought? All those factors influence who would inherit. Generally, a will controls who gets property, so if there is a will, that is a huge factor in who inherits, but yours is a community property state: anything acquired by either spouse during marriage is "community property" and the other spouse has a 1/2 interest in it that can't be overriden by a will. If it's community property, it 1/2 belongs to each spouse, and a will can't take away what someone else owns.
If there is no will, then generally a surviving spouse and the deceased's children share in the  property owned only by the deceased ("separate property": e.g. anything acquired pre-marriage or inherited by one spouse only) while the surving spouse keeps his/her own separate property and gets all the "community," or acquired during marriage, property. This is under your state's rules for "intestate succession," or who gets what when there is no will.
If they are not married, then the issue of community property does not apply, so she could leave the property to whomever she willed it to (if she has a will) or else it would go to her children, if she dies unmarried.
So we can't answer the question without knowing more about whether there is a will and what it says; whether they are married; and when the house was acquired and transfered to her (which influences whether it is separate or community property).
 
 


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