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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 99492
Experience:  Fully licensed attorney in Texas in private practice.
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The house my husband and I live in is in his name. I signed

Customer Question

The house my husband and I live in is in his name. I signed a few forms when he re-financed, but I am sure they were spousal consent forms. He is not leaving the house to me, rather he wants his five children and me to split the estate equally. What are my rights/recourses?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Ely replied 5 months ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms. I am sorry to hear about this situation. Can you please clarify what you signed? Did it state that you gave up all rights to the property as a spouse, for example? This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Expert:  Ely replied 5 months ago.
Hello! Just touching base to see if you still needed an answer and if you could reply to my query. Thanks!
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I don't know what kind of papers they were. What does the law say?
Expert:  Ely replied 5 months ago.
I really do not know what the law would say since it depends on what you signed.
For example, if you came to me and said "I rent from ABC, and pay them $20 a week, and today they told me that I have to pay $30 a week or else I'd be evicted, and can they do that," I would say:
-well how much does your contract say you are to pay, and
-when does it end?
So it all depends on what you signed, I mean.
I can ASSUME that you signed away your spousal rights. If you feel comfortable with that assumption for the purpose of my answer, reply and let me know and we'll continue. Does that sound acceptable?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Yes, it does. is that what commonly occurs? The reason I am asking is because of something I read in the AARP magazine this month:
"The second spouse typically will be able to claim one-third to one-half of the assets covered by your will, even if it says something else." Also-"before the house can be sold,your new spouse and kids will have to come to some kind of agreement (usually financial)."
Expert:  Ely replied 5 months ago.
Thank you. My apologies for the wait as I was in transit.
Okay. Any number of things can occur. So I cannot say for sure what you signed. I will assume you signed your rights away.
In Wyoming, the surviving spouse has a right to an ELECTIVE SHARE.
This means that instead of what was actually left in the will, the spouse CAN ELECT to demand half of his estate. However, if any children survive who are not also descendants of the surviving spouse, the spouse takes 1/4 of the estate. See Section 2-5-101.
So technically, someone in your situation can elect to take 1/4 of his estate in addition to whatever else is community property and assets.
As such, the home may be divided between you and the children, depending on the overall assets of his estate.
So can you make him change his will? No. However, you are entitled to at least one fourth of his estate regardless of the Will, and that may or may not include the home.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how experts get credit for our time. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars (or failing to submit the rating) does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith with a positive rating.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I went through the house papers this afternoon. I found nothing in there that says I relinquished my spousal rights. In fact, in a couple places, I have signed as "mortgagor" and/or "borrower." Does that make any difference?
Expert:  Ely replied 5 months ago.
Yes. That would completely change my answer.
If you are signed on as mortgagor/borrower, then it sounds like this is community property. If so, then you could be a joint tenant with right of survivorship. If so, then the property would go to you.
Property that has a right of survivorship is exempt from probate and goes to the surviving spouse.
Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.
Expert:  Ely replied 5 months ago.
Hello again. This is a courtesy check in to see if you needed anything else in regards ***** ***** question because you never responded or replied positively. I am simply touching base. Let me know. Thanks!

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