Is a real estate deed transfer needed with spouse's death?

Question

Is a real estate deed transfer needed with spouse's death?

Answer

A real estate deed transfer is not difficult to understand, but it is not something you want to take for granted. When it comes to land and property, spouses usually have an ownership right. When a spouse passes away, the title automatically gently fits under the spouse’s name so a real estate deed is not required since it happens automatically. This is by law and this falls under the survivorship deed.

The rights of survivorship are laws that are not the same from state to state. Any transfer of land that is not held by both spouses is directly tied to the will, intestate law or even a trust can come into play here. But, if the land is held jointly, then the following scenarios will not occur since a will will not matter--neither will a testament because the title will automatically switch over to the spouse.     

If a spouse departs us with a will, the real estate that is not held jointly is delivered to the heirs corresponding with the spouse’s final will and any testament he delivered. This situation usually unfolds like this:

  • the will is completed and documented in probate court
  • the executor listed on the will receives acceptance by the court to handle any payments owed by the departed spouse, which could include unpaid cell phone bills, car dues or funeral expenses
  • a survivorship deed is delivered to the fresh new owners

Sometimes a spouse passes away without a will made out; this is where intestate laws come into play. In terms of the transfer of property, this is usually the order of operations:

  • an intestate issue is completed and sent to the probate court by the family’s lawyer
  • the court selects an administrator to work on this estate’s case
  • the administrator handles all the debts and the court insures the property is transferred paralleling the laws of that state
  • a survivorship deed is delivered to the heirs who now are in sole possession of that land

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