by Phoenix attorney Christopher A. Combs, partner with Combs Law Group, P.C.

Question:

My mother and father owned our family home in Glendale for more than 20 years. After my father died five years ago, the mortgage life insurance paid off the mortgage and my mother owns the home free and clear. My mother since has remarried, and she and her new husband have established a revocable living trust. When my mother dies, however, she does not want her new husband or his children to own the home, but wants us to own the home. She is confused about the paperwork. Will the revocable living trust executed with her new husband control the disposition of the home upon her death?

Answer:

First, unless your mother has transferred the title to the home to the revocable living trust, the trust is irrelevant in determining the disposition of the home. If the title has been transferred to the trust, the terms of the trust will determine the disposition of the home. Second, if your mother has not transferred title to the home to the trust, and she dies intestate – that is, without a will – the title to the home will be divided fifty-fifty between her husband and any children from a prior marriage.

Your mother should execute a will leaving the home to her children, or execute and record a beneficiary deed leaving the home to her children upon her death. She should consult an estate planning attorney.

The above is for informational purposes only and is not intended as definitive legal or tax advice. You should not act upon this information without seeking independent legal counsel. If you desire legal, tax or other professional advice, please contact your attorney, tax advisor or other professional consultant. Reprinted with permission. Copyright 2007, all rights reserved.

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