Where there’s a Will, there’s a Way

October 24, 2019  |  William F. Huefner

Many people in Minnesota are married. Many of those same people own a home, cabin, farm, hunting land or other real estate and many of our clients think that because both the husband and wife have their names on the deed, that the survivor simply become the sole owner of the real property upon the death of their spouse.

This is incorrect.

In order for title to real estate to pass to the surviving spouse, they must own the property as Joint Tenants. If the title does not list husband and wife as Joint Tenants, then the default is Tenants in Common. This means that when one owner dies, their interest in the property is subject to a probate court proceeding. If the Decedent has a Will, it will pass according to the Will. If there is no Will, it will pass according to Minnesota Statute. Depending on the circumstances, it may or may not pass outright to the surviving spouse.

There are solutions to this problem once it is identified, such as:
(1) Recording a document so that the property is titled as joint tenancy. This way, when one person dies, title to the property passes to the surviving tenant;
(2) Putting a proper Will into place which will make your and your partner’s wishes known; and
(3) Placing the property in a Trust.

Connect with a professional Estate Planning attorney at Barna, Guzy & Steffen in Coon Rapids, MN to get help transferring & clarifying real estate ownership interests and for all of your estate planning needs.

We provide clients in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, Sherburne, Washington, and Wright Counties and beyond with estate planning guidance.