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Adding a Spouse to Title

Sean Robertson and Gateville Law Firm concentrate in real estate law and drafting quit claim deeds. Often, we close a buyer or seller in their personal name because one spouse did not get added to the mortgage.  We get about 2 to 3 phone calls per week where a spouse is seeking to add a spouse to real estate. 

We also get a lot of phone calls from divorcing spouses seeking to transfer one spouse’s interests to the other spouse consistent with their Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage (which stated that the one spouse gets to keep the property in their sole name). 

For example, Sue and Eric Smith are a married couple in Shorewood.  Eric purchases a house in Plainfield and Will County where Eric is the only name on the mortgage and real estate title. A problem exists if Eric deceases because Sue, his wife, is not on the real estate title. A simple solution is a quit claim deed.

What is a Quit Claim Deed?

A Quit Claim Deed is the transfer of a property interests without title insurance and without a guarantee of title. Essentially, the person receiving the property gets whatever interests the grantor had in the real estate.  For instance, if Eric has a judgment, which was a lien against the real estate property in Plainfield, this lien will be transferred to Eric and Sue’s name (after the Quit Claim Deed has been transferred).

Simply put, a Quit Claim Deed solves adding a spouse to real estate title.  A common question is one person purchased the property prior to their marriage and wants to add their new spouse to title. A Quit Claim Deed solves this problem.  Another common concern is how do I add my wife to title because the mortgage and title is only in my personal name. A Quit Claim Deed will transfer the property interests of one spouse into both spouse’s names. A key point is to remember is that the mortgage will not be transferred into both spouse’s names.  However, the title will be in both spouse’s names.

Tenancy by Entirety for Primary Residence

Generally, a husband and wife in Illinois will own their primary residence as tenants by entirety. Tenancy by entirety allows the right of survivorship in case one spouses deceases. A right of survivorship means that the surviving spouse will solely own the real estate property. Right of survivorship makes joint ownership of property easier to administer upon the death of one spouse. Moreover, tenancy by entirety protects a husband and wife when one spouse has creditor problems. A creditor can only pierce tenancy by entirety by forcing the sale of real estate if both husband and wife are debtors of the creditor. Tenancy by entirety only applies to spouses and their primary residence. Joint tenancy is applicable when two spouses own real estate, which is a vacation home or investment property.

Probate Court and Proceedings

Probate court and proceedings are required when one spouse deceases and the other spouse does not have the title in their joint names. This situation becomes much more problematic when the spouses are a blended family. A blended family is a married couple where one or both spouses have children outside of their marriage. 

Probate court is the court in Joliet and Will County (or Yorkville and Kendall County) which heirs heirship disputes. Probate court can be simple to very complex depending on the facts of your family situation.  Nevertheless, proper planning and a quit claim deed would resolve this probate issue (prior to a death).

Yorkville and Shorewood Real Estate Attorneys and Quit Claim Deed Lawyers

In conclusion, Gateville Law Firm and Sean Robertson concentrate in residential real estate and drafting quit claim deeds. Adding a spouse to title is crucial to avoid estate conflicts and problems. A Quit Claim Deed is cost-effective and affordable.  Contact Attorney Sean Robertson at 630-780-1034.

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