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How to Lose Half Your House

Don’t accidentally disinherit loved ones by not planning ahead.

As people get married or re-married later in life, there is good chance each member of a couple will come to the marriage with separate property such as a house.

Many times people do not bother with adding their new spouse to the deed, which can pose a huge problem if the owner dies without an estate plan.

Steve and Jane were married and shared a house for 12 years. It was the second marriage for both. They both assumed if one passed, the other would get the house. However, because Steve never got around to adding Jane to the deed of the house, Maryland law had other plans.

Without a will or trust, Steve was considered to have passed "intestate" and the way property is distributed is determined by state law.

Steve had a grown daughter from a previous relationship who he had not talked to in many years. Maryland law dictated that half his assets go to Jane and half go to his daughter. The house Jane had invested in for the past 12 years (mortgage, taxes, insurance, etc.) and thought she would own as an asset, is now half-owned by her step-daughter.

Estate planning is easy and will protect your loved ones.

This material is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.


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