Q: Twenty-four years ago, my then boyfriend, who is currently my husband, and I bought a home. We’ve been married for 17 years and while we’ve never had any children together, he has two children from a previous marriage.
When we bought the property, I believe we bought it as “joint tenants with rights of survivorship.” In case he dies, I’m just wondering if his children can fight for anything that he owns with me. He was only married to his ex-wife for 5 or 6 years. Thank you kindly in advance for any advice you can give.
A: If you own your home as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, and he precedes you in death, you would become owner of his half of the house automatically.
Do you have a will? Does he? I’m guessing that you don’t, but not having a will isn’t smart. The rest of his assets, like bank accounts, life insurance policies and retirement accounts (unless you’re named as the beneficiary), as well as his other belongings (like a car, clothing or furniture) will be divided according to state law — his children will likely get half and you’ll get half.
You and your husband should have a discussion about your assets and get a basic wills prepared so that you don’t have to worry about this.
June 5, 2007.