If you owned your own home before you married, you probably want to ensure that if something happens to you, your husband is not left out in the cold without a home. There are several ways you can accomplish this, none of which are prohibitively expensive. You should have a lawyer help you through the options to be sure your wishes are properly recorded and fulfilled.
To be sure your husband still has a home if you should die, you essentially have two options to choose from -- your will or a title change. Either of these options will ensure your husband inherits the house if something should happen to you, and the difference between the two options is simply the procedures that must be followed to effect the ownership change. Leaving the house to him in a will is a more complicated after-death process.
If you want to put your husband on the title, have an attorney complete and file a quitclaim deed. A quitclaim deed simply transfers or adds ownership rights to a property. It also affects the type of ownership you have. When you sign the quitclaim deed, you declare your ownership with your husband as joint tenancy or tenants-in-common. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages that should be discussed with your attorney before making the change.
If you bequeath the property in a will, your husband will inherit it. Since it's an inheritance and not a transfer of ownership, your husband may be subject to inheritance taxes on the property. If you have other relatives, or children from a previous marriage, your children can challenge your will in probate court. Though your husband may win, he will still have to absorb the expense of fighting the challenge. If you live in a community property state, community property rights will not come into play here because you brought the property into the marriage with you; it was not acquired during your marriage.
If you go the route of the quitclaim deed, which is the simplest solution, be sure you choose the ownership designation that represents your intent. If you want ownership of your home to simply transfer directly to your husband, joint tenancy or -- if recognized in your state -- tenancy-in-entirety, are the designations to consider. When you die, with either designation, ownership reverts automatically to him. If you choose tenants-in-common instead, your husband's ownership of the property would be determined by your will or the inheritance laws of your state in the absence of a will. It may also subject him to inheritance taxes that would be avoided with joint tenancy.
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