What rights does a spouse have to the home in the other's name?


As to the home that you live in, your spouse automatically has rights to the home even if his or her name is not on the deed.  Those rights occur both while you are alive and upon your death. Your spouse's rights upon death are called the elective share in Florida.


Kim: Hi, Mr. Olsen, I have a question. I got married last month and I own some property. I'm wondering does that mean now I own it with my husband or is it still just mine?

Attorney Tom Olsen: Is it where you live or not where you live?

Kim: Yes, it's where I live.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Okay. Here in the state of Florida by the very fact of being married your husband automatically has rights in your homestead. I'm talking about the home you live in, I'm not talking about your rental property or investment property.

Kim: Yes, we live in the home together.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Kim, by the very fact that you got married, let's just say, for example, tomorrow you wanted to sell that property or tomorrow you wanted to refinance that property. In fact, you could not do so without your husband's knowledge, signature and consent.

Let's say that you-- Kim, let's say that you got a will that says when you die everything goes to your kids. If you passed away, your husband could step in and say, "I don't care what her will says I want what I'm entitled in the Florida law and that is the right to live in this home for the rest of my life."

Kim, your husband has rights to that home unless you have a prenuptial agreement.

Kim: Okay. Now, the title of home, it's in my name. I can't go put it in his name and my children's name all at once.

Attorney Tom Olsen: You could but it would require his signature. I'm not suggesting that you do that, Kim. I'm not-- that may very well be a bad move on your part.

Kim: I always wanted to leave the property-- a third to him and I have two children. He's always known that my children have known that and I've stayed with that. As far as getting him to go down and sign the paper, I don't know I'll have to speak with him about that.

Just I love your show and I was just doing some errands and I thought I would give you a call and see what you said to me.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Kim, how long have you been married?

Kim: A month tomorrow.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Kim, I would think twice about putting your husband's name on that deed until your marriage has matured a little bit and you guys know that you're going to make it. When you do get ready give me a call?

Kim: We stayed together for more than 21 years, we're just weren't married.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Well, good. That sounds better, Kim. Kim, if you want some help with that, give me a call and my office we'll be happy to help you.