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Do I need to remove the name of my deceased husband from the house deed before I can sell it. We have a will giving me all.

Titusville, FL |

My husband recently passed away. Under our will, all property comes to me. Do I need to have his name removed from our house deed before I can sell the house?

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Attorney answers 2


You are talking about two separate things. You say "under our will the property comes to me" and then you say "Do I need to have his name removed from our house deed."

If your name is on the deed with your husband then you own the property outside of the will. The property never transfers to you through the will. It transfered to you by operation of law when your husband died. If both husband and wife's name is on a deed then it is called a "tenancy by the entireties." It means that you both own the property together and when one of you dies the other owns the property alone.

So, the fact that you inherit everything of your husbands through the will has nothing to do with the house. You own the house outright regardless of the will.

No you do not need to get your husband's name off the deed to sell it. But you do need to record the short form death certificate in the county records along with a non-tax affidavit swearing that your husband owed no taxes to the state of Florida. A lawyer can help you do this or perhaps they can give you an affidavit form at the country records office. The recorded death certificate is sufficient to give you the power to sell the property.

The foregoing is offered for informational purposes only and is not legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship but if the answer was helpful, kindly check the thumbs-up box below.


Tenants by the entireties ownership requires that you were married at the time you acquired title with your husband, and remainied married continuously until the date he passed away. It is presumed that a husband and wife take title as tenants by the entireties. If a husband and wife divorce after takign title, the ownership changes to tenants in common which does not have survivorship rights and requires the probate of the deceased owner's share.

This can be addressed by a simple affidavit confirming you were married on the date of the purchase, and remained married continously and without interruption. If you don't do this now, it will need to be done before you sell or mortgage the property. If you any questions about the legal status of your marriage, you should see any attorney now to make sure you don't get a surprise later.

I've seen one case where the couple did not actually get married until after they purchased. The husband died and the wife was asked to sign the affidavit confirming that her marriage was continous. It was at that time that she learned her husband's 50% share went to her for the rest of her lifetime, with a remainder interest to the husband's kids from a prior marriage. She had to share some of the money from the sale with the husband's kids.

In another case, the couple were married when they purchased, but divorced. They continued to live together. One spouse died without a will and the surviving spouse had to again deal with kids from the other sposue's prior marriage.

My comments are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship, are not confidential, and are not intended to constitute legal advice. Proper legal advice can only be given by an attorney who agrees to represent you, who reviews the facts of your specific case, who does not have a conflict of interest preventing the representation, and who is licensed as an attorney in the state where the law applies.

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