If my husband died but prior we had bought a home and the deed/loan is only in his name, how can I keep my home or have it transferred into my name?

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If my husband died but prior we had bought a home and the deed/loan is only in his name, how can I keep my home or have it transferred into my name?

Asked on September 25, 2012 under Estate Planning, North Carolina

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am confused about why the deed and loan were only in your husband's name if you were married at the time of purchase.  Ordinarily, a home purchased by a married couple would be placed in their joint names as husband and wife (tenancy by the entireties).  This leads me to believe there may have been a problem with your credit?

The Florida constitution provides special homestead rights to spouses and minor children.  The spouse must inherit at least a life estate in the house.  If the husband and wife have minor children, they will inherit the house after the spouse dies.  It is necessary to open a probate estate to transfer the deed.

Some states provide that a house purchased during marriage automatically becomes a tenancy by the entireties, and the spouse automatically inherits the house no matter what the deed says. 

Even without a constitutional homestead provision or automatic tenancy by the entireties, a spouse usually inherits all or a substantial portion of a person's estate when they die without a will.  This can vary a little bit depending on whether you and your husband, either together or separately, have children.

You should consult a probate/estate lawyer in your area to find out how to place the house in your name.  Of course, you will still have to pay the loan.  The mortgage company may or may not be able to insist that you refinance the house in your name - your lawyer will have to look at the loan papers and advise you about this.


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