How Real Estate Passes Without a Will

An all-too-common misconception is “When I die, my house will go to my spouse, I don’t need a will to ensure that happens.” While this belief might be correct, it is better to ensure that your real property transfers the way that you want it to, otherwise your property will be transferred by intestate succession.

The passing of real estate without a will involves both real estate law and estate planning. Our Monroe Attorneys have the necessary experience in both these areas to make sure that your real estate passes the way you want it to.

First, it might be useful to define some terms that you may have heard. A person who dies without a will dies intestate, the people who receive their property are their heirs, and their estate is handled by an administrator. In contrast, a person who dies with a will is a testate, the people who receive their property are their devisees, and their estate is handled by an executor. This post involves those who die intestate, and how their property passes.

Let’s look at several common scenarios for the intestate and how property passes:

Husband and wife own the home as tenants by the entirety. If a husband and wife own the home as tenants by the entirety, that means that the document conveying the property (usually the deed) shows that the property was conveyed to both spouses while they were married. It is crucial that both parties’ names are on the instrument, and that the parties are married.

When spouses hold property as tenants by the entirety, they each own all of the homes and have what is called the right of survivorship, which means that if one spouse passes, the other spouse gets the entire interest in the property. No will is necessary, the property passes as an operation of law. Without a will, this is the scenario where the property passes solely to the remaining spouse.

The property is titled to in the name of the husband (or wife) only, and there are no children, but that spouse’s parents are alive. If the deed only lists one spouse, and that spouse has no children, upon their death, the remaining spouse now owns half of the property, with the other half being divided by the deceased spouse’s parents. If only one parent is alive, the living parent and the living spouse now own the home 50/50.

The property is titled to in the name of the husband (or wife) only, and there is only one child. If the deed only lists one spouse, and that spouse has only one child, upon their death, the remaining spouse now owns half of the property, with the other half belonging to the spouse’s child. Each party owns the property 50/50.

The property is titled in the name of the husband (or wife) only, and there are multiple children. If the deed only lists a spouse, and that spouse has multiple living children (or grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.) the surviving spouse now owns a one-third interest in the property, and the children (grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.) divide the remaining two thirds between themselves.

Call Our North Carolina Estate Planning Lawyers for Immediate Legal Help

At Perry, Bundy, Plyler & Long, LLP, the Monroe probate and estate administration attorneys are standing by, ready to advocate for your rights. If you have any questions about how your property passes without a will, they can help.

Contact us today to set up your strictly confidential case evaluation. From our Monroe office, we serve people and families throughout the region, including Union County, Stanly County, Anson County, and Mecklenburg County.

Call Today! (704) 289-2519