If I died tomorrow, would my wife inherit the equity in my house as next of kin?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If I died tomorrow, would my wife inherit the equity in my house as next of kin?

I purchased a home 4 years ago with a 30 year mortgage. I was just married 3 months ago. And, would my wife be allowed to remain in the house, if she continued to make the mortgage payments?

Asked on March 22, 2018 under Estate Planning, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) If you had no children and there is no will, she will inherit it under intestate succession. If you have children (whether with her or with someone else) and no will, she and the children will both inherit interests in or a share of the home--that could result in them forcing the sale of the home so that the equity can be divided among those who inherit. If you have a will, the home goes to whomever you will it to.
2) Legally, she cannot just keep making the mortgage payments, unfortunately: the mortgage comes due when you pass away. If it can't be paid in full, the lender could foreclose--they may choose not to, and may let her keep paying the mortgage, but they'd have the right to foreclose if it is not paid in full. If they foreclose, then she would not be able to keep living there. Only if the balance of the mortgage is paid off could she be sure of being able to keep living in the home. You may wish to buy sufficient life insurance as to pay the mortgage plus your final expenses.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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