Will a wife have ownershipof thehouse when her husband passes away, if she signed a quitclaim deed or can other family members fight for it?

UPDATED: Oct 18, 2011

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Will a wife have ownershipof thehouse when her husband passes away, if she signed a quitclaim deed or can other family members fight for it?

She signed a quit claim deed when they bought the house but the mortgage is now paid off. Their children are all over 18 years old.

Asked on October 18, 2011 under Estate Planning, Tennessee


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am a bit confused here as to what exactly happened.  Are you saying that the Wife signed over a quitclaim deed after they purchased the house but her name remained on the mortgage?  And it remained the marital home for the entire time they were married?  And that now the house is paid off? And so now the spouse has died and you are probating his estate, correct? Well, if it is husband and wife and children here and there is no Will, then the house is part of his estate, the estate passes via the intestacy statutes where in Tennessee if there are surviving issue of the decedent, then the spouse gets either one-third (1/3) or a child's share of the entire intestate estate, whichever is greater, and the children take equally. "Other" family members - other than the wife and kids - will have no right to share in the estate.  Good luck. 

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