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Court action unlikely for widower looking to sell his home

By ERIC FEICHTHALER - Real Estate Law | Mar 18, 2021

Eric Feichthaler

Dear Mr. Feichthaler:

My wife recently passed away, and I am planning to move back to Michigan to be near my grandkids.  We lived in Cape Coral for 12 years, and own our home with a small mortgage. Do I need to do anything with the courts before selling my house?

— Stan M.


Dear Stan:

First, my condolences on the loss of your wife.  It must be a comfort to know your family looks forward to you spending more time with them.

Typically, a home will be held as “Tenants by the Entireties” which is the longer, legalese way to say “Husband and Wife.” If this is how you took title when you purchased the property, then no action will need to be taken in the courts. All that will be required is the recording of her death certificate with the clerk of court, which the law firm or title company handling your sale can record for you. I note that court action would be required if the home was in your wife’s name only.

Although interest rates have ticked up a bit lately, demand for houses is very strong right now. I expect you will receive good offers soon after listing your home. 

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.