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We own a home jointly by entirety and my husband died is the house mine?

Spencer, MA |

My husband and I owned our home and the dead says in the entirety. My husband passed away on Sept. 25, he had no other assets besides the home. Do I need to do anything to record the home is now mine?

"the deed says in the entirety, not the dead.

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Attorney answers 2


My condolences upon the death of your husband. "tenants by the entirety" is a particular form of ownership, similar to "joint tenants with right of survivorship", which has additional advantages with regard to creditors, but is only available to a married couple. Absent any unusual circumstances, the house became yours upon the death of your husband. Practically, there is nothing you need to do, unless and until you decide to sell. Then, a death certificate and an affidavit that your husband's estate wasn't required to file an estate tax return in Massachusetts would be needed, along with the deed to the buyer.

So, the quick answer is no. However, it might be a good idea to speak with an estate planning attorney in your area about what you might wish to do for your own planning, including preparation of a health care proxy, possibly a power of attorney, and a will or trust if appropriate. Good luck!


If you were married when you bought the property;

and if you and your husband properly took title as tenants by the entirety;

and if nothing happened in the meantime to sever the tenancy (including but not limited to a divorce, or a court case, or some sort of intervening transfer which occurred after the deed but which you don't remember making;)


At the time that your husband passed away, you would become sole owner of the property by operation of law, subject to any mortgage or liens. You don't need to record anything to accomplish that--it happens automatically when your husband dies--but if you want to sell the property, you'll generally be wise to record a death certificate at the Registry.

I agree that you should quickly consult an estate attorney to assist you in the administratino of the estate.

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