I'm married, we have a house together, if my spouce dies, can he leave his portion of the house to someone other than me , his spouse ? If he does, do I then have to sell the house to give the 50% house value to his benficiary ? How much time do I have. We live in California.
3 Answers from Attorneys
You have until he dies to get him to change his mind. If he were really that mean to you to put you in that position you might be able to hang on to the house for awhile, or buy out his heir..
It also depends on how you hold title. Many couples hold title to their home in joint tenancy, meaning that the survivor automatically becomes owner of 100% of the property. That would be superior to naming his portion of the house in his will to give to someone else because the house will never be part of his Estate. If you do not have a joint tenancy or a trust that holds the property for your benefit, then you are right to have concerns about what might happen to someone inheriting half of your home.
What happens to the house depends on a variety of different factors, including, but not limited to, how you hold title and what type of estate planning you have done. Since this is a subject of some concern to you, you and your husband should sit down with an estate planning attorney, come up with a unified estate plan and document that plan. We can assist you with this if you like.
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