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Does a new spouse inherit the house if his name's now on the deed?

Forked River, NJ |

I live in New Jersey. My grandfather signed his house over to my mother before he died. Around that time, my mother divorced my father and moved into my grandfather's house. A few years later, my mother remarried. Soon after, she added her new husband's name to the deed to the house (and his name is listed under the tax info as well). They took out a loan together for remodeling.
My question is this....
If my mother's new husband out lives her, does he automatically inherit my grandfather's house because he's on the deed now? If so, Is there any way to contest that? We grew up in my grandparent's house every summer, and they spoke about leaving it to us kids and keeping it in the family our whole lives. It would be a shame to lose it.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. By transfering ownership to her new husband your mom may have divested all interest in the house to him if he was to out live her. However without looking at the deed which transferred ownership it is impossible to answer this question. It all depends upon how title was taken. I would suggest you get a copy of the recorded deed either from your mom or the county clerk and discuss this matter with an attorney.

    IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE: The response to the question posted is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. The response is intended as general information based upon the facts stated in the question, and is provided for educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Responses are based solely upon New Jersey law.


  2. Most likely if your mom "goes" first the house will go to your step dad. There is a chance that the deed may read differently but doubtful if he has a mortgage on it.

    John Ducey


  3. The answer is: it depends. It depends on what the deed says. There are three main types of co-ownership of real property. For husband and wife, generally, when one spouse departs this life, ownership passes to the surviving spouse by operation of law. If your mother and your step-father were married at the time the deed was changed to include your step-father's name, that's probably the case. Now there are other ways that ownership can be vested, so it depends on what the deed says. Definitely consult an attorney about this. You can refer to my website for more thorough information.

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