Are his wishes in the will enough to keep the house from probate?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 17, 2016
Shesh asked...

My dad is 86. His name is the only one on his house deed. He is married (2nd time). He wants his wife to get 1/2 of the house and the rest is to go to us. If he dies before her, will his wishes in his will be enough or will the house go into probate court?

Expert Answers

Steve Weisman hosts the nationally syndicated radio show A Touch of Grey, heard on more than 50 stations, including WABC in New York City and KRLA in Los Angeles. He is a practicing lawyer specializing in estate planning and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He's a public speaker and commentator who has appeared on many radio and television shows throughout the country, and he's the legal editor of Talkers magazine, the preeminent trade publication of talk radio. His latest book is The Truth About Avoiding Scams.

If the title to the home is solely in your father's name, the home would be part of his probate estate and pass in accordance with the terms of his Will. Dividing the home into shared ownership between his wife and his children, however is fraught with complications that should be addressed, such as who would have the right to live in the property and who would be responsible for real estate taxes and repairs. I would urge him to discuss this with his lawyer and develop the best method to see that his wishes are met.