Charlottesville, VA asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia

Q: My dad recently passed away. My mom’s name is not on the deed. As the spouse, does she have rights to the house?

2 Lawyer Answers
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
Answered
  • Real Estate Law Lawyer
  • Potomac, MD
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: We need more facts to answer. Was she the spouse at the time the house was acquired or was it premarital property? Since you refer to them as your mother and father, we might assume this was a traditional marriage, but that is far from certain. If they bought the house while married, And they were married when your father died, the house is probably held by entireties and therefore entirely hers notwithstanding the title. If it was premarital property, we also need to know your state and the ages of his children. You might be well served to buy a brief consult with a lawyer licensed in your state and practicing probate or real estate law.

Ross Cameron Hart
Ross Cameron Hart
Answered
  • Real Estate Law Lawyer
  • Salem, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: I'm sorry for your loss.

While it is likely she has some rights, I always recommend that your mom consult an experienced probate lawyer in your area - there are too many variables that could affect the answer. AND DON'T GO TO THE COURTHOUSE TO DO ANYTHING BEFORE CONSULTING THE LAWYER - I've seen too many families lose property or have to pay thousands of dollars in costs and fees when they didn't need to. This forum is designed and good for simple, general questions that will get you to the 'next step' for legal situations. Sometimes all people need is a simple answer. From the facts you’ve given, it seems that you need a lot more than an internet answer. Find and sit down with an experienced attorney in your area – there is a ‘search’ feature that can help you.

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