Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Florida


My wife and I own a home we are currently still paying off. We still have about 11 years to go before the house is paid for.

Question: If my name and that of my wife is on the paperwork and at the bank showing that both of us are the co-owners of the property, if I was to die; would my wife lose all rights and ownership to our home unless there was a last will and testament stating that the home would be turned over to my wife? My sister-in-law swears up and down that it makes no difference if the bank shows that we are the co-owners. She insist that it must be clearly detailed on a last will and testament. Can you please shed some light on this subject since my sister-in-law says that it does matter what the bank says, it's what the law requires. Does that mean that the ton of paperwork I have from the bank showing my wife and I as owner of the property is not according to the law? That would be a first.

Thank you for your time and consideration on this matter.


Asked on 3/20/10, 1:49 pm

4 Answers from Attorneys

David Slater David P. Slater, Esq.

As husband and wife you own it jointly with right of survivorship. It will go automatically to the survivor. If you have other assets and children, you should have a will.

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Answered on 3/25/10, 2:12 pm
Scott R. Jay Law Offices of Scott R. Jay

It is nice that the bank shows that you and your wife own the property jointly but this does not control anything. What you need to do is view your Deed and make sure that both of your names are on it. If you do not have it, you can look for it online in the Broward County Public Records which is available to the public.

If not, there may be issues upon death. You can correct a deficiency by executing a Quit Claim Deed to include your wife if she is not listed on the original Deed.

Scott R. Jay, Esq.

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Answered on 3/25/10, 3:34 pm
Robert Roemer Robert Roemer

i would suggest you check the deed at the courthouse as the attorney suggested above. In addition,It would be a good idea for you and your wife to have a will or trust so all the property you both own will be transferred according to your wishes upon your death.You can review more information at my website www.FloridaLegalServicesOnline.con

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Answered on 3/26/10, 10:37 am
Lesly Longa Longa Law P.A.

In Florida, the surviving spouse usually has a right of survivorship if the property is owned as husband and wife (as tenancy by the entirety). If you are unsure, it is a good idea to make sure you both are on the deed. Nevertheless, having a last will and testament, power of attorney, and living will would probably be a very good idea. Regards,

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Answered on 3/29/10, 11:05 am

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