Erik Kramer Quoted in Newsday, Ask the Expert: Should husband’s name be removed from deed, stocks after death?

November 07, 2023

Should a spouse’s name be removed from a deed or stocks after death? Eric Kramer shares his insight with Newsday on what to consider when having a joint will.

From the article:

My husband passed away 15 years ago. His name remains on the deed of the house and some stocks we had. Our will states that everything is left to the children equally. Does his name have to be removed from these important papers?

If you owned the house jointly, it isn’t necessary to remove his name from the deed. Property that’s owned by joint tenants with right of survivorship — or in the case of married couples as “tenants by the entirety” — automatically passes to the survivor.

But it’s a good idea to retitle the stocks in your name alone, said Eric Kramer, a Uniondale estate lawyer. Your stock broker can help you do that.

Your reference to “our will” suggests that you and your late husband had a joint will — a single document that continues to be valid after the first spouse’s death. This raises a question you didn’t ask that may be important to other readers: Is this a good estate plan?

“I’m not a fan of joint wills,” said Kramer. When a couple agree on disposition of their assets, a single will can sound logical. But in practice, it can create unanticipated problems by limiting the survivor’s ability to write a new will in response to unforeseen events.


Read the article here:
  • Related Practice Areas: Trusts & Estates
  • Featured Attorneys: Eric M. Kramer