How do we transfer a title to me after my spouse dies so that his creditors can't come after me? 11 Answers as of January 11, 2012

My husband has credit card debt I didn't sign for. The only thing we own is our house and some land. How should our title to this read so the land and home come immediately to me after he dies and the credit cards can't file a claim on them as part of his estate.

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Goldsmith & Guymon
Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
You should discuss your estate plan with an attorney. You may be able to use the homestead exemption to protect equity in your home. Additionally you will want to address the total value of his separate property and your community assets to determine what options are available.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 1/11/2012
Law Office of William L Spern | William Spern
Property owned by a married couple without children from prior marriages or relationships, owned in trust, business property owned with other business partners, etc., should be owned by tenancy by the entireties. Upon death of one spouse, the property automatically passes to the surviving spouse.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 1/9/2012
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
Joint tenants with right of survivorship.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 1/6/2012
Law Office of Walter Johnson
Law Office of Walter Johnson | Walter Johnson
Generally, this is the purpose of the probate process. That is, probate allows creditors to make any claim they have against the estate. Once all of the creditor claims have been paid, then the beneficiaries split what remains. If you have a house and land in California, then it is unlikely that you are eligible for the Small Estate probate process for estate under $100,000 in 2011. The creditors will get paid and after that the remaining balance will be distributed. However, having said all that, if the title to the real estate was held as joint tenants or as community property with right of survivor, then the real estate would pass to you outside of the probate process.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/6/2012
Neighborhood Law Office, P.C.
Neighborhood Law Office, P.C. | Jim Underhill
In Colorado you have rights. Here there are not enough facts to be sure, but there is a good possibility that you do not owe the debt, and even if you do, they cannot touch your house, or your social security. However, do not change the title to your house without talking to an attorney. While you own it, you have lots of rights. If you transfer even part of the interest, you lose most of those rights, and the creditors have a better chance of attaching the house. You need to speak with an attorney immediately. In the meantime do not pay anything on those bills. If you make a payment, it increases the chance that the creditor can claim that you "took over" the bill and are responsible for it. Do not even give them a $10 "token" payment. There are several likely solutions to your situation, most of which do not involve you impoverishing yourself to pay off the bills, or allow the creditors to threaten you. You have the right to tell the bill collectors to only communicate with you in writing. Tell them they are not authorized to call you for any reason, then hang up. If they persist a lawyer can explain what to do next. Also, bill collectors lie. They cannot "take your house", "lien your house", "send the sheriff to arrest you", "come and take your furniture today", or any of the other things they say. There is no judgment right now and they cannot get one without you knowing they are trying to do it. Until they have a judgment, they have nothing but empty threats. Like many attorneys we will sit down and review the bills, the letters and your situation with you without charge. Your best bet is to find a good lawyer who provides advice on this kind of issue on a regular basis and review your specific facts; the lawyer will be able to give you an analysis of the law and your options.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 1/6/2012
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A.
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A. | Laurie E. Ohall
    In Florida, if you owned the house with your husband (the deed would read "John Doe and Jane Doe, as husband and wife"), then the title to the house automatically belonged to you at his death. You only need to record his death certificate. If the house was only titled in your husband's name, it would still belong to you, free from creditors, but a probate will need to be done to transfer the title. If the other property is not homestead, and is not titled in both your names, either as joint tenants with rights of survivorship or "as husband and wife", then it will need to go through probate, and creditors may be able to have a claim against the property. You may want to talk to a probate attorney to clarify your rights.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/6/2012
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    You need to sit down with a lawyer and not do this yourself, unless you really want to screw up. The specific question you ask raises the possible issue of what is known as a fraudulent transfer, so botch it and you lose. See a lawyer on this one.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/6/2012
    Hodges Law Firm, LLC | Warner Russell Hodges
    Title it as Joint Tenants With Right of Survivorship and it will not pass through his estate, just as long as you survive him. The "Survivorship" means the entirety of the property goes to the longest living spouse.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/5/2012
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    If you and your husband hold title as "joint tenants with right of survivorship" , the property is not an estate asset and will go directly to you upon recording an Affidavit of Survivorship and Death Certificate. You should also be aware that as a surviving spouse you have rights to the homestead that have priority over creditor claims.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 1/5/2012
    Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
    There are several forms of joint ownership that provide for transfer immediately upon death. However, that alone may not insulate you from his credit card debt. You should consult an estate planning attorney to determine what is best for you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/5/2012
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
    In general, credit cards are unsecured debt. Credit card companies may file a claim in probate of an estate. Unsecured creditors are last in line for payment during the probate process. If you are NOT on the cards, do not sign as the responsible person.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/5/2012
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