If my father dies without a Will and he and I are listed as co-owners on his house title, will his wife have any claim to it?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If my father dies without a Will and he and I are listed as co-owners on his house title, will his wife have any claim to it?

My father owns a house that was willed to him by my grandfather. The house has gone into tax default and will be put up for auction unless the property taxes are paid. My father is unemployed and does not have the money to pay the taxes. He said that if I take out a $3000 loan to pay the taxes, he will move out, let me live there on my own, and add my name to the deed so that both of our names will be listed as owners. If he dies and does not have a Will, will the house default to me since I am a listed owner? Or will his wife (who currently lives there) be able to stake any claim to it?

Asked on April 30, 2011 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your situation but I am glad to hear that the house can be saved.  First, any agreements regarding the transfer of real property MUST be in writing to be valid.  So I would consider seeking legal help on that point.  Also, you will need an attorney to do the transfer properly with the deed and for the filing of the deed.  If you are listed as joint owners of the property make sure that it is with "rights of survivorship" which means that the property passes outside the estate and is not apart of the estate and goes to you automatically upon his death.  If the property was inherited then it is generally separate property unless the wife can prove an intent for it to be marital property.  Really, get legal help here.  This is potentially messy.


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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption