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Home should transfer to surviving spouse

By ERIC FEICHTHALER - Real Estate Law | Nov 19, 2020

Eric Feichthaler

Mr. Feichthaler,

My wife recently passed away and our main asset is our home. I am concerned about the taxes and probate that may be needed to have the property in my name, what will I need to do and how much do you think it will cost?

— John M.

Dear John,

My condolences for your family’s loss. My goal when assisting a family with their plans is to make sure their real estate passes easily and without expense to surviving spouses. The good news is, so long as your property was held as “husband and wife,” the property will vest to you. All that will need to be done, and there is no hurry, is to record a death certificate in with the Lee County Clerk of Courts. This will result in the property being titled to you only. No probate will be needed.

Also, there will be no income tax consequences to this occurring, nor are there any estate or gift taxes to worry about. You may need to provide an affidavit of continuous marriage should you decide to sell the property. So, the only cost you should have is the $10 for recording with the clerk. Looking to the future, you will want to take steps to make sure the property passes to your loved ones without probate should you pass away while owning the property. For now, I wish you and your family peace of mind during the upcoming holidays.

Eric P. Feichthaler has lived in Cape Coral for over 33 years and graduated from Mariner High School in Cape Coral. After completing law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., he returned to Southwest Florida to practice law and raise a family. He served as mayor of Cape Coral from 2005-2008, and continues his service to the community through the Cape Coral Caring Center, Cape Coral Historical Museum, and Cape Coral Kiwanis. He has been married to his wife, Mary, for over 20 years, and they have four children together. He earned his board certification in Real Estate Law from the Florida Bar. He is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell for professional ethics and legal ability, and is a Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator.

Mr. Feichthaler can be reached at eric@capecoralattorney.com, or (239) 542-4733.

This article is general in nature and not intended as legal advice to anyone. Individuals should seek legal counsel before acting on any matter of legal rights and obligations.