Should a married couple have both names listed on a property title?

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Should a married couple have both names listed on a property title?

My husband and I own a house in TX where I live with our children. He is working in CA and plans to buy a condo to live in. Should we have both of our names listed on the property title for the condo? He feels it would be less complicated to put the property in his name only since I am not there to sign the papers. Also we do not have a written Will.

Asked on August 7, 2011 Texas

Answers:

Richard Weaver / The Weaver Law Firm

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I would require more information to answer your real estate related question. I would seriously consider obtaining will for both you and your husband. Visit www.WeaverLawyers.com for futher real estate information.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In California, the escrow company typically draws up the grant deed transferring real property from the seller to the buyer which is then recorded in the county recorder's office where the real property is located.

The buyer does not sign the grant deed transferring title from the seller to the buyer, only the seller does before a notary public.

California is a community property state. Meaning, unless the married couple has a pre-nuptial or post nuptial agreement to the contrary, all assets and liabilities of a married couple living in California are equally owned by the spouses.

California also allows for property owned by married spouses to be held as "community property with the right of survivorship." This type of title could provide a stepped up basis for the entire property held in such a manner when the first spouse dies for estate tax puposes.

Since you and your husband do not have a will or a trust, you should consider having one drafted up by a wills and trust attorney. You should also consult an attorney regarding how legal title will be held as to the purchase of the California condominium.

Good luck.

 


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