Surviving spouse's elective share rights to homestead


What are the surviving spouse's elective share rights to homestead? Watch as Attorney Tom Olsen explains!


Attorney Tom Olsen: Usually a married couple own their home together. Sometimes just the husband or wife will be on the title to the home. What happens to the home when a spouse dies without a will?  In that case, the surviving spouse has two choices regarding the homestead: The surviving spouse can take a life estate in the home and will get to live there for the rest or his or her life, or the surviving spouse can take a one-half ownership interest in the home as tenants in common with the deceased spouse’s children.

Chrissy: It does. And I think that this is something that people don't realize.  Having the title to the home in just the husband’s name or just the wife’s name is more common than you think.  Having the title to the home in just one spouse’s name often happens when there has been a second marriage or one of the spouses inherited the home property.

Attorney Tom Olsen: People often ask us to transfer the title to their home out of just the wife’s name or out of just the husband’s name and into both names as husband and wife. The advantage of adding your husband’s or wife’s name to the deed is that, if one of them passes away, the home will automatically go to the surviving spouse without going through probate.

Because the wife passed away with a home in her name only, the home will have to go through probate.

We have a great tool for avoiding probate on your home or other property. It's called an Enhanced Life Estate Deed also known as a Lady Bird Deed and we have booklets on that Lady Bird Deed, we would be happy to mail it to you. If you want to get out booklet on Lady Bird Deeds, you can call or text Chrissy anytime at 407-808-8398.