Estate Planning Question - Quit-Claim Deeds, Titles, and Wills
Ask the Real Estate Lawyer: Real Estate Law Q&A
By Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin
Summary: A reader who divorced her husband asks whether she needs to change the name on her property title from her married name to her post-divorce name to ensure that her children will get her house if something should happen to her. Ilyce Glink and Sam Tamkin respond that she's OK but should make sure that her estate planning activities include a notarized will.
Q. I acquired my house through a quit claim deed from my ex-husband. The title is in my married name. I have two boys from the marriage to my ex-husband.
I am in a second marriage now but have not changed the name on the title to my house. Would this cause any problems for my two boys should something happen to me? And is it necessary to have the deed changed to my name as it is now?
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My husband now has a daughter from a previous marriage and I would not want the house or any part of it to go to anyone other than my two sons.
A: Rest easy: It wonít matter whether your house is in your former name or in your current name. While it may be comforting to have the title changed to your current name, you are not required to do it.
But you do have one big issue you need to tackle: Make sure you have a properly drafted and notarized will that will ensure your home, upon your death, is transferred to your sons.
If you do not have a will, the home will be transferred according to the laws of the state in which you live. It may mean that your current husband would get title to half of your house while your two sons would each receive just a quarter interest in the home.
The will should specifically mention the real estate you own and should specifically state that the home is to be conveyed to your sons. If your sons are minors, you should also consult with your attorney about setting up a trust so that your sonsí interests in the property will be protected should you die while they are minors.
One additional consideration you will have to discuss with your estate attorney is whether the home is now your marital residence with your current husband and your husbandís daughter. If the home is your marital residence, you should probably discuss how to handle having your two boys from a prior marriage own the home while your husband and his daughter still live there.
Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Ilyce R. Glinkís latest book is 50 Ilyce R. Glinkís latest book is The REAL U Guide to Bank Accounts and Credit Cards. If you have questions for them, write: Real Estate Matters Syndicate, PO Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022 or contact them through Ilyceís website www.thinkglink.com