How to Add a Husband's Name to the Deed or Leave the House to Him in a Will

By Brette Sember, J.D.

How to Add a Husband's Name to the Deed or Leave the House to Him in a Will

By Brette Sember, J.D.

If your husband is not listed on the deed to your home, you may wish to make him a joint owner. It's possible to add your husband to the deed of your home. It's also possible to leave the house to him in a will, but this may not be the best option.

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Making Your Spouse a Joint Owner

The easiest way to make your husband a joint owner of your home is to change ownership using a deed. There are several ownership options when it comes to adding a spouse to a deed, but the best choice in this situation is to create a joint tenancy with right of survivorship. This means you and your spouse are both owners and if one of you dies, the other maintains complete ownership of the property without doing anything to transfer ownership. It passes automatically. Some states have the option of tenancy by the entirety, which is similar to joint tenancy with right of survivorship. The only difference is tenants by the entirety both legally own the entire property, instead of each theoretically owning half.

Deed Transfers

The simplest way to add a spouse to a deed is through a quitclaim deed. This type of deed transfers whatever ownership rights you have so that you and your spouse now become joint owners. No title search or complex transaction is necessary. The deed will list you as the grantor and you and your spouse as grantees. The deed includes a legal description of the property, which you can copy from your existing deed. Complete the deed and sign it. File it in your country recorder's office. Your state may require that an attorney draft the deed for you.

Transferring Property in a Will

Another option to transfer ownership of property is to use your will. If you wish to leave your house to your husband, you list him as a beneficiary and state that you are leaving the home to him. After your death, the will must go through probate, which is the legal process in which a will is validated and its provisions carried out. The probate process can take many months and there are fees associated with the process, as well as the cost of a probate attorney. Because of this, it is simpler and less expensive to simply add your spouse to your deed, rather than waiting to pass ownership of the property through your will.

Transferring Property at Death Without a Will

There are other ways you could transfer ownership of your home to your spouse. If you die without a will, your assets, including your home, will be distributed to your heirs according to your state's intestacy laws. This method is not recommended because your assets are distributed according to what state law specifies, not in accordance with your wishes. Another option is to place your home in a trust and name your spouse as the beneficiary of the trust. The trust will then transfer ownership of the home to your spouse. Trusts can be a convenient and secure way to transfer ownership in a home, but setting up the trust is more expensive than simply doing a deed transfer.

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