Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

What happens if I own our house and my wife's name isn't on it and I die? Will she have to vacate the house? Does the State end up with it?

Asked on 10/28/19, 1:11 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Haapala, Thompson & Abern, LLP

No, the state does not get it. However what happens beyond that gets more complicated, for example if you have living children at the date of your death. And even if there are no complications, she would have to open a probate case to obtain rights to the house through intestate inheritance. If there is a reason you don't want her on title while you are alive, but you want her to get the house when you die, or you want her to be able to live in the house and then it goes to someone else when she dies, or any other of many variations, you need to have a will or trust or probably both prepared that set forth what happens to the house when you die.

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Answered on 10/28/19, 1:30 pm
Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

There’s another aspect of law to apply here as well.....whether you owned 100% or whether your wife has acquired a partial ownership by virtue of loan equity payments made with community-property funds. Be sure your lawyer checks to see if she has acquired a community interest under the Marsden case.

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Answered on 10/28/19, 4:56 pm

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