Q: I signed a quit claim deed to my ex-husband. He died without a will. Who owns the property?

A: When you signed a quit claim deed to your ex-husband you lost your ownership right to the property. So for starters, you would not have an interest in the property.

If he owned the property with somebody else, it’s possible that other person will now become the owner of the property, particularly if he and that other person owned the property jointly with rights of survivorship.

If he owned the property by himself and died without a will, your state’s laws would have to determine who will get the property. If your ex-husband died and had no children, his parents or siblings will become owners of the property. If your ex-husband had children with you or from a prior or subsequent marriage, those children will become the owners of the property, or perhaps share ownership with your ex-husband’s living parents.

If he was the only owner of the property, his closest relatives as determined by the state laws in which the property is located will need to probate his estate to have the court transfer title of the property from his name to the new owners.

June 5, 2008.