How do I get real estate in my name if it was owned by my husband?

UPDATED: Jun 24, 2015

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How do I get real estate in my name if it was owned by my husband?

My husband bought a vacation home 11 years ago and 2 years later he wrote his Will leaving all his property to me and designating me as his representative. Then 7 years ago we married. My name was never put on the mortgage deed but last month he put me on the mortgage account so I could pay bills/speak to the mortgage company on his behalf. Last week he passed away. Do I have to count the property as part of probate or is it already jointly owned? If I have to put in a quitclaim form to get my name on the deed, can I represent and sign forms on his behalf?

Asked on June 24, 2015 under Estate Planning, Maine


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  If there was never a deed filed listing you as owners (and husband and wife have the words "with rights of survivorship" next to their names) then the property is not jointly owned under the law and you will have to go through probate.  You can not sign any legal document until you are appointed as executor of the estate.  Then you will sign an executor's deed.  Good luck.

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