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What Happens to Our House if My Spouse Dies?

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What Happens to Our House if My Spouse Dies?
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If your partner dies and they have left behind a will, their wishes will be carried as per their instructions. However, if they didn’t have a will when they died, their money, property and possessions will be shared out based upon the law.

Things can become a little grey when somebody passes without a will. Regardless of your relationship with them the law decides who gets what and little can be done to change this. There have been situations where estranged family members receive money or property of a deceased individual despite not having spoken to them for over 30 years. So if your spouse dies what will happen to your house?

Dying without a will

If a spouse passes away without leaving behind a valid will it is referred to as intestacy. The UK government has an online tool to help you understand where assets go if someone dies without a will.

As the surviving spouse, despite there being no will, you will be automatically entitled to first refusal of the property. You can acquire the house as your inheritance; this is particularly relieving for partners still living in the family home.

Without a will or a living spouse, most properties are sold. Following this, the cash from the sale is added to any other assets and shared between any beneficiaries.

In other scenarios, a beneficiary may want to receive the property. This will need to be discussed and agreed upon amongst any other beneficiaries.

Unmarried partners

If you were not married or in a civil partnership with your partner, you will receive nothing if they do not leave a will.

Joint tenants

If you and your deceased spouse own a home as joint tenants with a joint bank account, the ownership of the property will be passed straight to you. You can then remain in the home or sell up if you cannot afford any outstanding mortgage or simply fancy a change.

Tenants in common

As tenants in common you and your other half would have both owned a share of the property, be it 50/50 or disproportionate. If you, as the remaining spouse, are named in the title deeds you have legal rights to the property regardless of the share you own.

Married partners

If you were married to your partner you will likely inherit their entire estate, regardless of any children. If this includes the family home, you will need to distinguish whether you can carry on with any mortgage payments and afford the monthly bills and upkeep of the property.

Separated partners

Even if you were separated at their time of death, if you are married but not divorced you will likely inherit all your ex-partner’s assets as you are still, legally, their husband or wife.

Children and grandchildren

If you and your spouse were not married and they did not leave a will, all assets will defer to any children. There have been circumstances in the past where parents have had to sue their children to secure an inheritance for themselves upon the death of a spouse.

If you and your partner were married any children and grandchildren will receive inheritance based upon the law.

Dying with a will

If your spouse has left a will, their wish is legally binding. If they have left the property to you, wonderful. However, it may have been shared between yourself and any children, or yourself and another beneficiary.

If your spouse left a will but it did not detail specifics about your home, then the beneficiaries and the executor’/s of the estate will decide what should be done.

Selling inherited property

If you have remained in the family home due to the will of your spouse or have received a property through inheritance there are situations where you may want to sell up. These can include:

  • It’s too emotional to remain in the home
  • The home is too expensive or too much for you to manage
  • You would like to downsize
  • You require the funds tied up in the house
  • You wish to move in with family or friends

Whatever the reason, WeBuyAnyHome have a friendly team ready to carefully guide you through the selling process. We can take the stress away from selling your house and buy it within a timeframe that suits you; in as little as seven days if needed. You can get a cash offer today and we will be in touch within 24 hours.

If you would like any professional advice on dealing with probate, Laurelo can help. You can learn more about the services they offer here.


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