What happens to home in just wife's name when she dies?


When the home is in just one of the spouse's name and that spouse dies, the surviving spouse has a right to life estate pursuant to Florida's Elective Share Statute.


Attorney Tom Olsen: Joe, you're on News 96.5. Go ahead.

Joe: I'm living in a home with my wife and it was her home before we got married. We sold my home after we got married. We took that money and remodeled this home. I'm homesteaded on this home, but I'm not on the deed. What would happen if she precedes me in death? Where do I stand with my step-kids and everybody? Am I going to have to move out of this house or-

Attorney Tom Olsen: Do you have a prenuptial agreement, Joe?

Joe: No.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Does your wife have a will?

Joe: No.

Attorney Tom Olsen: If she dies without a will, Florida Statutes is going to write a will for her. And as to the home that you and your wife live in that's in her name only, Florida Statutes says that you would get a life estate. You would have the right to live in that home for the rest of your life, and upon your death, that home would go to your wife's children.

Joe: Okay. What about the taxes and insurance, and all that? Is that something that I have to keep up or I lose that benefit?

Attorney Tom Olsen: Yes. As a life estate holder, Joe, you would be obligated to pay taxes, maintenance, insurance and any mortgage payments.

Joe: Okay.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Now, Joe, that's if she dies without a will. Now, if your wife's intention is, let's say, "Hey, Joe, if I died tomorrow, I want you to have this home," well, there would be two choices. One is, we do a new deed where we add your name to the deed. Or two, she has a will that says, "When I die, I give my home to Joe."

Joe: I got you. Okay. Thank you very much.

Attorney Tom Olsen: All right, Joe. Call us if you need some help with that. We'd be happy to help you.

Chris: I just wanted to add there, though, probate.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Yes, if her intention is that the house goes to Joe when she dies, it'd be easier to add his name to the deed. That way it would not go through probate when she dies.

Chris: Exactly.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Thank you, Chris. I agree.