Am I entitled to my husband's property if he dies and my name isn't on the deed?

4 answers | Last updated: Aug 21, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

Name not on deed to property. Just husbands. Is wife of 11 years still entitled to half of property if sold or if he should die?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

The answer depends on a few more facts"”such as where you live, when the husband took ownership of the property, and whether he has a will that addresses the property.

If there is a valid will directing who should get the property, then that likely controls at death.

If there is no will, the issue would likely be controlled by the state's laws. Very generally, only spouses, registered domestic partners, and some level of blood relatives inherit property when someone dies without a will. Spouses often get all property at death if there are no children, and a majority share of the property if there are children to share it. You can find your state's rules on this by searching the state name plus "intestate succession."

Another wrinkle that may make the matter more complicated is whether you live in a "community property" state. To oversimplify, community property is what either spouse acquires while married, except for gifts and inheritances. Spouses in community property states are generally entitled to take all community property at death, and half in the case of divorce. You can find the law on community property by searching your state name and "community property." If the husband inherited the property, or took title to it before the marriage, for example, the wife would not automatically be entitled to a share of it.

These are just general explanations, though. In some cases, for example, if there is evidence that the couple intended to own the property together and made tax and mortgage payment on it together through the years, then the legal presumptions do not apply.

If there is a lot at stake, or if someone is planning a life change based on this information, it may be worthwhile to get the opinion of a local lawyer who is experienced in estate planning. He or she should be able to assess the situation"”or to help make changes in ownership now if that's what the client seeks.

Community Answers

Anicua answered...

If the deed on the son's name. The husband is not can the wife still.claim for it

Mamawl answered...

I've been married going on 3 years,my name is not on home,can my husband puts on his will it goes to his son ,and leave me on the streets?

Geo2015 answered...

This is such a difficult issue. As a consultant, I have worked with many heirs of estates in probate and beneficiaries of trusts for years... and this problem has come up numerous times. Although it seems to me that generally the surviving spouse does inherit the house when the decedent spouse passes away... although naturally this is not always the case -- as the expert here says, it depends on the state, and on the particulars of the estate and the will, or the trust. Interestingly enough, when the surviving spouse, or heir, does inherit the house, many actually use this inherited property to borrow against their inheritance, to get a loan on inheritance, for a fair amount of probate cash, as they list the house to sell. Some so they can take care of urgent expenses or debts, sooner than later, or to hire their own attorney if they ave issues with other heirs, way before probate closes, a year or two down the road.

The interesting thing about this, in my opinion, is that those heirs that get advance inheritance money this way become near experts in this process... by researching exhaustively online for established inheritance loan companies that can give them extremely fast probate cash or trust advances, inheritance loans that are fast loans while waiting for inheritance, inheritance loans in almost every state, a loan on inheritance with unusually easy inheritance advance rates, and terms, low inheritance loan fees...

And as soon as these heirs get approved for an inheritance advance or inheritance loan while waiting for their inheritance in probate... They have to choose how large or small these loans against an inheritance will be, loans based on inheritance in trust or probate. They have their choice of what type of inheritance loans they want to get at that point, or 72 hour estate loans or probate loans; or inheritance advance cash assignments... Or maybe it's advance inheritance funds from a trust. Always from inheritance advance, probate loan, probate cash advance or inheritance loans companies like,, or maybe, for super fast estate advances and inheritance loans, rather than waiting a year or two until probate ends to access their inheritance money. And if the heirs have problems with the estate planning or siblings or other heirs, those who can’t afford their own lawyer will get an estate loan, inheritance advance or probate loan to arm themselves with their own personal attorney. And then sparks really fly. But you can't blame them. People need to protect their inheritance assets. Like a woman who is in danger of losing her home to her deceased husband's relatives! And it happens all the time.