Ease the burden on your spouse.
Frequently when I meet with individuals to do their estate planning, I discover their spouse has passed away and the title to their house is still in both of their names. With the title in both of their names, the surviving spouse cannot sell, deed, or take out a loan against the house. To remedy this problem, I will file for Probate, Summary Administration or record an Affidavit of Heirship to get the deceased spouse’s name off of the title.
In 2008, the Idaho Legislature added Idaho Code § 15-6-401 to Idaho’s Uniform Probate Code. This Section states that “any estate in real property held by a husband and wife as community property with right of survivorships shall upon the death of one spouse, transfer and belong to the surviving spouse.” To accomplish this, a couple must record a deed with the county recorder that expressly states that the real property is being transferred to them to be held as community property with a right of survivorship. By doing this, all the surviving spouse has to do is record a death certificate to transfer the title into his or her name.
For couples with modest estates—a home, car and bank account—with proper planning there is no need for them to go through probate when one of them passes away.
Tom Packer is an Elder Law Attorney serving all of Southeast Idaho. As part of his law practice, Tom offers Life Care Planning to deal with the challenges created by long-term illness, disability and incapacity. If you have a question about a Senior’s legal, financial or healthcare needs, please call us.