What Are The Rights of a Spouse in a Home When the Spouse Dies?



Video Summary


What are the rights of the spouse in a home when their spouse dies?  We first have to look at how title is held to the property.  If it is held in their joint names as husband and wife, then the property automatically goes to the spouse, and all that is needed is to record a death certificate.


If the title is just held in the spouse’s name alone who passes away, then it is considered homestead property, and is controlled by the Florida Constitution and the laws of the State of Florida.  And if you’re survived by a spouse and minor child, then the spouse receives a life estate and a remainder interest vest in the children.  You cannot devise it or leave it in your will to anyone else.  The spouse does have an election to make, and they can elect to take a half interest in the property, but they must file that election within, I believe, six months of the date of death of the spouse.  So if you do lose your spouse, you need to contact an attorney right away to discuss your rights in the property.


Now if your spouse leaves a will, and the deceased spouse is not survived by minor children, then the decedent can leave in his will the property to his spouse.  That is the only person he can leave it to.  He cannot provide for life estate or anyone, anything else, and so it is an improper devise to leave it to anyone other than your spouse, and then it would be controlled by law, which would mean that the spouse would have a life estate or elect to take a 50 percent interest in it, and the other remainder interest would pass to the adult children of the decedent.


So it’s a little bit complicated as far as homestead is concerned; misunderstood by a lot of attorneys.  So if you lose your spouse and he owns the property in his name alone, I urge you to give me a call; set up an appointment, and let’s review the situation right away.


My phone number is 727-847-2288.