If something happens to me, will my wife automatically get the house I bought before we got married? 10 Answers as of February 11, 2015

I have a house I bought on my own 20 years ago. Two years ago I got married. If something happens to me, will my wife automatically get the house? I have no children, just a sister. Do I have to take measures to make sure who gets the house?

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LAW OFFICE OF ROBERT I LONG
LAW OFFICE OF ROBERT I LONG | Robert I. Long
In California, a house you bought and paid for before marriage is considered your separate property, although it is possible a portion of it may gradually become community property over time. Without a Will, your wife will get half the house and your sister will get the other half (assuming your parents are deceased). With a Will, you can dictate who gets the whole thing. Plus you designate who you want to be in charge, called the Executor, which is usually the same person as stands to receive the bulk of the estate. With a Trust (one step up from a Will), it is possible to have your estate handled after your death without the need to go to court, if that is a concern, but a Trust is not suitable for all situations. See an estate planning attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/11/2015
Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
Yes, you have several options. You should have a consultation with a lawyer who works in the estate planning field.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/10/2015
Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
Your wife would not automatically get the house. You will need to draft at a minimum, a will. Your best option would be to place the house in a trust naming your spouse as the beneficiary. This way she would get the house without having to go through probate.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/10/2015
Law Office of Jeffrey T. Reed | Jeffrey T. Reed
J would do a new deed with you both as joint tenants with right of survivorship. That way the house would easily go to whoever is left if something happens. You could also setup a joint revocable trust and put the house in that if you want, but that would cost more to do. I am assuming you want the house to go to your wife? Either of the above would work either way!
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/10/2015
James Law Group
James Law Group | Christine James
You must do an estate plan if you want your wife to receive the house. It will not be automatic.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/10/2015
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Yes; suggest you see a trust estate planning lawyer to protect you from probate court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/10/2015
    Patrick W. Currin, Attorney at Law | Patrick Currin
    As next of kin she should get the house through intestate succession, but that is a costly and time consuming process. Set up a trust and put your home in it with your wife as beneficiary.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/10/2015
    WFB Legal Consulting, Inc.
    WFB Legal Consulting, Inc. | William F. Bernard
    If your wife has joint ownership in the home, such as title in joint tenancy, the home will pass to her and the deed will need to be put in her name only at the County Recorder's Office, typically in conjunction with using a copy of the death certificate. If she does not share in some form of ownership interest, then she will have to file a Probate Petition, unless you have a Living Trust which leaves the property to her as a beneficiary.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/10/2015
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    Yes, your wife would get the house if it is in California. Without a Will, she is your immediate heir.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/10/2015
    Law Offices of Robert P Bergman
    Law Offices of Robert P Bergman | Robert P. Bergman
    There is several more questions that would need to be entered in order to answer your question. My recommendation would be that you put your house into a living trust with your wife as the beneficiary if, in fact, you intend to have her receive the property on your death. Living trust you can also provide for alternate beneficiaries for your property if your wife were to die before you or in a common accident.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/10/2015
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