Who Really Owns Your Home

By Chris Tymchuck
Founding Attorney


A Minnesota Estate Planning and Probate Lawyer Explains Why You Should Check the Deed to Your Home

Common Scenario

A client calls and explains that her husband recently passed away and she wants the help of a Minnesota Probate Lawyer because she isn’t sure what to do now. We set a time to meet and discuss the probate process.

I send her my probate intake form and she returns it prior to the meeting. Upon meeting she explains that they owned most asset jointly. They both own their home, the bank accounts are in both their names and he had a life insurance policy and retirement account that listed her as the beneficiary. Seems simple enough. I could tell her that she, most likely, will not need to go through the probate process but I want to verify the ownership of the home. Why do I want to do that when she says it’s owned by both of them? I’ve been burned one too many times. I’ve had numerous clients who believed their homes were owned jointly only to discover that only of them was actually listed on the deed.

Because this client sent her intake form in early I already checked with the county and discovered that only her husband’s name was on the deed. Unfortunately, this means that we do need to open a probate. Under Minnesota probate law a home that is owned solely by someone who dies must go through probate to be transferred to another person. This is true even if there is a surviving spouse. Even though everyone acknowledges that the home goes to the surviving spouse, we still need to get a court to say so before the county will transfer the title.

So, please take a few moments to verify that you and your spouse are listed on the deed. If you aren’t sure how do find out, or you discover that only one of you is listed, please call a qualified estate planning attorney to assist in ensuring your loved one won’t be forced into probate on your home.

Minnesota Estate Planning Attorney

Contact Unique Estate Law today by calling (952) 955-7623 to set up an initial consultation to discuss your plan.

About the Author
As a Minneapolis Estate Planning and Probate attorney I help build and protect families through the adoption, estate planning, and probate processes. I also have experience working with families on issues related to their small businesses. I know how difficult it is to find time to plan for the future and I am here to help walk you through it.