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Who gets the house in the event one partner, in same-sex relationship, dies?

Orlando, FL |

My same sex partner and I purchased out first home in FL in 2009. In reviewing the warranty deed, both our names are listed but there is no mention of joint tenants w/ right of survivorship. I am concerned what this will mean if one of us dies without a formal Will in place given that FL. law is notoriously anti-gay. Is there a chance that because this statement is missing on the deed that the deceased partner's family can claim partial ownership of the home?

Attorney Answers 2


You need to meet with an attorney and work out a comprehensive plan for the distribution of your assets at death to avoid problems. There are a number of ways to do this, and a number of attorneys in Orlando, myself among them, who work with same sex couples to go over all their options. You also need things like living wills and health care surrogates in case one of you is ill to assure that you can make health care decisions for your partner.

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You need to run, not walk to see a lawyer that works with the community. Take a copy of your deed, and if you don't have a domestic partnership agreement, wills or revocable trusts, and health care directives, then get them immediately. You are doing a disservice to each other not having these documents in place. This is true for all couples whose relationship isn't recognized by the law law of their state of residency.

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