Will home go through probate when wife dies?
When the deed to real estate has both the husband's and wife's name on the title, the property does not go through probate when one of them dies. All that needs to be done is to record his or her death certificate in the county where the real estate is located. There is not a new deed; the old deed together with the death certificate is all that is needed to place the title in the survivor's name.
David: Hi, I got a question, my wife recently became, I guess, terminally ill maybe, and we have a $50,000 life insurance policy on her, and I'm the beneficiary. Then, of course, she is listed on my house, on the deed to the house, but she's not listed on the mortgage. The only other thing that she would have in her name will be her vehicle. What would I need to do as far as if she passes away, am I going to have to go to court and all that stuff. She has one child that--
Attorney Tom Olsen: David, I understand. David, first of all, I'm very sorry about your wife. First of all, life insurance does not go through probate. If she passes away, all you have to do is show the life insurance company her death certificate, and they'll write you a check. Number two, as far as the deed to the house, as long as the two of you are identified as husband and wife, meaning it's got both your names, comma, his wife her husband and wife, her interest and home is not going through probate. She passes away, the only thing you have to do is to record her death certificate in the public records and her half of the home automatically belong to you.
Number three, vehicles do not go through probate. If she's got a will that says, "When I die, leave everything to David," then you pass away, all you have to do is go down to the Tag and Title office, and they'll retitle the car in your name. Now, with that said, as far as I'm concerned, David, it might be nice while she's alive to pull out the title if you've got it and have her sign it over to you. David, does that answer your questions?
David: Yes, pretty much, only one other question. Would it be easier while she is still alive to have her, maybe, sign a quick claim deed on the house or would that even be necessary?
Attorney Tom Olsen: No, as long as both of your names are on the deed and it identifies you as husband and wife, that would not be necessary.
David: Okay, that pretty much answers my question.
Attorney Tom Olsen: All right David, thank you for calling, what do you think Chrissy?
Chrissy: I absolutely, of course, agree with everything you said, but in addition, I think what David brings up a good point and again, David, sorry about your wife. But about while she is still alive, about a power of attorney. I just wanted to add that because I think that that's something where, again, Tom, you covered everything about if she passed away, but if for some reason, and I know David didn't necessarily get into it, if she has a 401K, she has a retirement account in her own name, that David is the beneficiary, but what about if she becomes incompetent while she's alive.
He absolutely needs to have a power of attorney. And as we know, that's one thing where even married couples don't realize that power of attorney documents are so important because it's about if your spouse is alive but incompetent. That is what's going to allow you to be able to help and transact business on anything that happens to be in their name only.
Attorney Tom Olsen: Yes. Well, you triggered me that also she would want to have a living will.
Chrissy: Oh, of course.
Attorney Tom Olsen: Living will where she asked that she not be kept alive by machine. So David--
Chrissy: Those three.
Attorney Tom Olsen: Yes. So the issues you called me about, you're all clear to go, but we think that she should have powers of attorney where she appoints you to make healthcare decisions for her, take care of business of her if she's not able to and a living will where she's asking that she not be kept alive by machines. David, if you need some help with those things, we'd be more than happy to assist you.