We have a mortgage, a car payment, and no valuable assets. He had no life insurance, so I had to borrow $7000 from my family to bury him. We were married for 31 years. The home was solely in my name for approx. 28 of those years, but was put in both names when we had to refinance. My husband has approx. $1700 in credit card debt solely in his name. His adult children are telling me they want a share of the house. Are they entitled to anything?
The answer SOUNDS like no, but I am sure there are a lot of other facts, here, and I would want to have an attorney review the terms of the deed. The kids would be entitled to a potential share of the probate estate, but it sounds like all the estate may have is debt.
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Wills and Living Wills Lawyer
As Mr. Frederick suggests, if the title to the house was held as tenants by the entireties, common among married couples, then you became the sole owner of the house upon your husband's death. You need to have some one review the deed to confirm how title to the house was held. His children would only have a claim to probate assets, and only after legitimate claims against the probate assets were paid.
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I am very sorry for your loss and now this unfortunate family stress. "Are they entitled to anything" is a broad question to which the answer is yes, but only if there are sufficient probate assets. I agree with the other attorneys here that the house seems to be protected if it is titled correctly. Anything else depends on how the car and other assets were owned. You should contact an experienced Estates Attorney to make those determinations and hopefully put all this to rest.
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Guardianship Law Attorney
I am so sorry for your loss.
In PA, adult children of a deceased parent who are NOT children of the living spouse ARE entitled to half of the estate of their deceased parent (which is different then when the children are children of the living spouse, too). BUT, if you own the house as a tenant in the entirety (as Mr. Fischer said) then you own all of it now.
If instead you and he owned it as a tenant in common, then you may owe something to his children, but if there is a mortgage against the house that may complicate things further; sometimes the home is titled one way and the debt is titled in another. It is possible that you still have the title to your home in your name alone, but both of you have your name on the mortgage, which I have seen before (banks failing to require the borrowers to get new title- if the bank made this mistake, it would be easy for you since it would mean he had no real ownership, only debt). Best to consult with an attorney in your area but get a copy of your refinance papers and the a current copy of the title to the home, first.
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