Skip to content

One Spouse Dies–Does The House Transfer?

This is a commonly asked question with a slightly complex answer–and much of it depends on whether or no you have a will or trust.

There’s only one way to keep your house out of the probate process when you pass–make sure you have an ironclad will and trust outlining how all of your possessions will be allocated.

When one spouse dies, the other spouse is entitled to…

When one spouse dies, determining what the surviving spouse is entitled to receive begins with determining whether or not the deceased spouse had a will or trust–the answer will dictate next steps. 

Assets that will not go through the probate estate administration process include:

  • Any assets in trust
  • Jointly-owned property, like  bank accounts and real estate 
  • Any life insurance proceeds
  • Payable-on-death (POD) bank and retirement accounts

If one spouse dies with a will or trust, then…

If there’s a legally binding will or trust when one spouse passes away then that document will determine what happens to those assets.

So if one partner has listed the other partner as sole beneficiary, the living spouse will receive everything, or exactly how much is given to them in the will.

Anything that is jointly owned by both spouses will pass to the surviving partner automatically, but there can be an allocation of any solely owned property.

However, if one spouse is financially dependent on the other and the deceased does not provide for them sufficiently in will, then they would have grounds to contest the will.

To ensure your spouse receives your house when you pass, contact Ben Dishowitz today.

The Dishowitz Law Firm will help you to construct a trust and will that can make sure that your final wishes are carried out exactly as you want them to be–you’ll sleep a lot better at night.

About Dishowitz Law

Dishowitz Law provides counsel to hundreds of individuals, families, and businesses involved in complex legal disputes, including estate planning, probate, estate disputes, general litigation, and landlord-tenant law. For more information, call (855) 236-3474, email, or visit