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House in husband's name only

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
8 replies 1.6K views
Chi-meChi-me Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
I feel very selfish posting this however it is important I know where I stand. Apologies, it is a ramble.

I had a huge breakdown a few years ago and my business collapsed. Self employed so whilst recovering it was 'no work, no pay' for quite a protracted period and it never fully recovered. I had to take early retirement last year as an end result.

In the meantime my husband had a small windfall and was able to put down a deposit on a small cottage in north east england that we have just moved into. At the time the broker said getting a mortgage with me as joint tenant would be sub prime and not affordable, my previous defaults are not showing up now though. So, we took their advice and put the house in his name only.

I was recently speaking to somebody who has scared me as he had to sell his home when his wife died and they were in a similar situation. He told me I should get hubby to make a will in my favour. His step daughter has essentially put him through the wringer he says.

Further complications for us include my husband's adult daughter, he hasn't had any contact for many years and worked abroad when she was young. He always paid for her upkeep but they never lived as a family at any time.

Could I end up without a roof over my head? I'm disabled and financially dependent on my husband but for my disability benefits so this is a huge issue for me. I looked on the .Gov website and it seems as our home is worth under £100k and his pension assets unlikely to match that, that I would automatically inherit the house. I'm wondering whether to ask the mortgage company (Halifax) whether we can re register us as joint tenants at some point now my previous default is not visiible on my credit score?

We will be setting up a will but I'm not sure how much protection that will afford us.

Any advice will be gratefully recieved, thank you.

Please go easy on me, I have mental health illness and other disability and my head is spinning with anxiety about this today :(
:money:

Replies

  • MojisolaMojisola Forumite
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    You should both make wills.

    As you are married, you are in a strong position if your husband died before a will gets put in place.

    Unless he has been financially supporting his daughter in adulthood, she will have no reason to make a claim on his estate (although that may not stop her trying).
  • Keep_pedallingKeep_pedalling Forumite
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    if he has assets in excess of £250k then it is vital that he makes a will. If he dies intestate you will inherit the first £250k + 50% of the remainder. The rest would go to his children.

    If it is what he wants, It would be perfectly possible for him to take care of both you and step daughter by leaving the house to his daughter and giving you a life time interest in it.

    The other thing he needs is to have in place is life insurance to cover the mortgage. It would be highly irresponsible of him not to have a will and adequate insurance in place to protect his loved ones.

    You may not currently have much in the way of assets in your own name but you also need a will in place.
  • Chi-meChi-me Forumite
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    Thank you for your reply, it is helpful. I'm sure she won't even be aware that he has purchased a house and he certainly wont be telling her. He paid her mother towards her upkeep until she was 20, as required by law now, then stopped. He is 50 on wednesday and never owned a house before so it probably wouldn't dawn on her that we aren't living in rented accommodation. I've never met the girl, she only got in touch with him briefly dueing her childhood for money at birthday/christmas/holiday times all her life. Sad really he is a great step dad to my 3.
    :money:
  • Chi-meChi-me Forumite
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    He doesn't wish to provide for her, they have no contact, he doesn't know her but knows of her via his mother, who tends to keep her at arms length as she has become a very 'entitled' adult (they say). He lived with me and my three young adult children as a family for the first time.

    We will be having wills and mortgage protection is in place which is why I'm worried about losing my home should he predecease me. His estate would be under 200k in total, he is a bus driver in north east england so not on a great salary. I'm engaging with the disability team at the job centre for work myself too.
    Im very aware we need to protect one another financially and committed to sirring it out.
    :money:
  • FlugelhornFlugelhorn Forumite
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    If you make the wills then you can leave everything to each other. As it stands, if you are married and the estate is < 250K then you would inherit everything. Suspect Husband's daughter would only have a claim if she could prove that he was financially supported by him (unlikely for an able bodied adult)
  • MarconMarcon Forumite
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    Chi-me wrote: »
    I was recently speaking to somebody who has scared me as he had to sell his home when his wife died and they were in a similar situation. He told me I should get hubby to make a will in my favour. His step daughter has essentially put him through the wringer he says.

    Further complications for us include my husband's adult daughter, he hasn't had any contact for many years and worked abroad when she was young. He always paid for her upkeep but they never lived as a family at any time.

    'Somebody' may have been in what you believe to be a similar situation, but the facts as you have given them here certainly don't look as if they lead to anything like the same outcome.

    Your husband hasn't supported his adult daughter since she was 20, so even if he dies before making a will, the chances of her having a valid claim under the Inheritance Act aren't exactly high; zero would be my guess, based on what you have said.

    Hopefully he has some sort of life insurance or other protection in place should he die while the mortgage is still outstanding, assuming your earnings at the time wouldn't cover it.

    Both you and your husband need to make wills sooner rather than later. See a solicitor and do the job properly, so that you can set your mind at rest.
  • TBagpussTBagpuss Forumite
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    It would be sensible to make wills - quite apart from anything else, it allows him to speciically tell the solicitor dealing with the wills that he has a step-daughter andthat he has considered her and decided that he doesn't want to leave her anything.

    He can also decide what he would want to happen if you were to predecease him? Would he want to leave anything to your children, who he sees as famil, but are not his blood-relatives but who he says he sees as family.

    You and he can aslo talk to a mortgage adviser and think about putting the house into joint names, now, or when any current fixed rate comes to an end and he remortgages.

    This would give you some protection, and if you schose to hold the property as joint tenants it would automatically pass to you if he died, rather than going by will.

    As you and he are married, if he died and had not left a will, then under the intestacy rues, you would be entitled to the first £350,000 of his estate, plus half of anything over that, and any children he has would be entitled to the other half (if his estate was under £350K you would get it all)

    His step-daughter would not automatically be entitled to anything, and I think would struggle to convince a court that it was reasonable for him to leave anything to her, when he is not her father and she is npot dependent on him, epsecially as he has a wife and minor step-children who are dependent, but making a will is always a good idea.
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • DairyQueenDairyQueen Forumite
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    TBagpuss wrote: »
    It would be sensible to make wills - quite apart from anything else, it allows him to speciically tell the solicitor dealing with the wills that he has a [STRIKE]step[/STRIKE]-daughter andthat he has considered her and decided that he doesn't want to leave her anything.

    He can also decide what he would want to happen if you were to predecease him? Would he want to leave anything to your children, who he sees as famil, but are not his blood-relatives but who he says he sees as family.

    You and he can aslo talk to a mortgage adviser and think about putting the house into joint names, now, or when any current fixed rate comes to an end and he remortgages.

    This would give you some protection, and if you schose to hold the property as joint tenants it would automatically pass to you if he died, rather than going by will.

    As you and he are married, if he died and had not left a will, then under the intestacy rues, you would be entitled to the first [STRIKE]£350,000[/STRIKE] £250,000 of his estate, plus half of anything over that, and any children he has would be entitled to the other half (if his estate was under [STRIKE]£350K[/STRIKE] £250k you would get it all)

    His [STRIKE]step-[/STRIKE]daughter would not automatically be entitled to anything, and I think would struggle to convince a court that it was reasonable for him to leave anything to her, [STRIKE]when he is not her father[/STRIKE] and she is npot dependent on him, epsecially as he has a wife and [STRIKE]minor[/STRIKE] (not specified by OP) step-children who are dependent ? (not specified by OP), but making a will is always a good idea.

    Edited to address inaccuracies and assumptions. A will is definitely desirable and necessary if the OP's spouse wishes to make direct provision for his step-children.

    OP: does your spouse have any pensions? He should name you as the beneficiary of all pensions that are 'defined contribution' (i.e. the type that builds a pot rather than pays an income linked to salary). It is likely that the trustees of such pots would select you as beneficiary anyway but belt-and-braces is always preferable.
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