Hi! I’m Chip Waller. What are the rights of a widowed spouse in homestead property?
In order to start this analysis, to be able to give you advice, we need to know how title to this real estate was held. Was it held in your joint names as husband and wife? If so, the property automatically passes to the surviving spouse.
If the property was just in the decedent’s name, we then need to determine if there were any minor children, adult children of the decedent, as well as the surviving spouse.
If there were no children surviving – if there are no children of the deceased spouse, and he owned the homestead property just in his name, well, then the homestead property would pass to the surviving spouse outright.
If, however, the deceased spouse was survived by children, then the surviving spouse receives a life estate in the property with the remainder interest going to the children.
Now there is an election that can be made by the surviving spouse if she does not want to continue to live there or cannot afford the house during her lifetime in that she would be responsible for taxes, insurance and maintaining the property. She can elect to take a half interest in the property if the decedent was survived by children. And if she makes that election she must do that, I believe, it’s within six months of the date of death of the deceased spouse.
So if you have any questions about homestead property give me a call at 727-847-2288.