Wills & Spouses

Getting married can change your life.  It can also change what happens after your death.  You cannot disinherit your spouse…no matter how much you may want to.  Regardless of what your will may or may not say, your wife or husband is entitled to your homestead property when at death you do part (unless there is a properly executed marital agreement). Even if your will was made before you got married, your spouse is still entitled to half your estate, the same as if you had died without a will. You may be “ABD” (All But Divorced), but happily or unhappily, while you are still married, you and your spouse have a Tenancy by Entirety.  Tenancy by Entirety includes the unities of Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship plus the Unity of Marriage, which subscribes to the legal fiction that husband and wife are one entity.  As long as the marriage is intact, neither can break the tenancy nor otherwise convey the property. If you want your children to inherit your homestead without having to share with your estranged spouse, then divorce may be part of your estate planning.  ‘Putting your affairs in order’ may literally mean ‘putting your affairs […] Read More

Consenting Adults & Married Couple’s Homestead

It takes two consenting adults to sell the homestead property of a married couple—the husband and the wife—even if only one name is on the deed. Regardless of whether or not your wife’s name is on the deed of your primary residence, she has to give her consent to sell the property.  You cannot sell your house to surprise her with an RV.  You have to get your wife’s permission to sell the house that she lives in. Even if you bought the house before you ever met her, put only your own money into it…your house is roped in when you tie the knot. You also cannot will your homestead to your kids and kick your wife out upon your demise.  You may be married till death do you part, but your wife is not going anywhere you die unless she wants to. Tenancy by Entirety includes the unities of Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship plus the Unity of Marriage, which subscribes to the legal fiction that husband and wife are one entity.  As long as the marriage is intact, neither can break the tenancy nor otherwise convey the property.  However, upon the dissolution of the marriage, the […] Read More

Moving on After Divorce

Divorce may be a stage in life, and some people go through it more than once.  Just when they know all there is to know and dislike about their spouse, they get married again.  In Family Law, that is not referred to as “repeat offender” (though maybe it should be in some cases).  But no matter how many times you and your spouse split, ‘Separated’ is not the same as ‘Divorced,’ especially when it comes to real estate ownership in Florida. You may be “ABD” (All But Divorced), but while you are still married, you still have a financial interest in your almost-ex’s real estate.  Happily or unhappily, you and your spouse have a Tenancy by Entirety. Tenancy by Entirety includes the unities of Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship plus the Unity of Marriage, which subscribes to the legal fiction that husband and wife are one entity.  As long as the marriage is intact, neither can break the tenancy nor otherwise convey the property.  However, upon the dissolution of the marriage, the property is automatically held as Tenancy in Common. Things can get messy in divorce…and things can get messy if the divorce is not completed.  Do the math […] Read More