Ask the LDA
June 25, 2022
Question: My husband died recently and I need to transfer the property into my name. How do I do that if my name is not on the deed? I thought since I am the surviving spouse I can just transfer the property into my name.
Remember, this information is not legal advice. Please consult an attorney if you need direction on what procedure to use in your case.
Answer: Fortunately there is a simple solution, but it does require a court order. According to "How To Probate and Estate in California" by NOLO, any property – community property or separate property – that goes outright (not subject to a life estate or in a trust) to the decedent's surviving spouse or domestic partner under the terms of the decedent's will or by intestate succession in the absence of a will does not require formal probate. (Prob. Code § 13500.)
However, a court order, called a Spousal or Domestic Partner Property Order, is often required to transfer title to certain types of assets, including real property or stocks and bonds. There is no limitation on the amount or value of the assets transferred.
The first step is to file a Spousal or Domestic Partner Property Petition (Form DE-221) with the superior court in the county of the decedent's residence. Use this form because your husband died without your name on the deed. There are boxes to check to give facts in support of the claim and schedules to complete. If there is a will, a copy is attached. If there are other assets, that needs to be stated.
Once filed, the court will set the petition for hearing. Then you mail a copy of the notice to certain people at least 15 days before the hearing. Unless someone objects to the petition, a court hearing is generally If someone does object, call an attorney right away. If all goes well, the court will issue the order and that court order will be used as the official document to transfer title to the property. The entire procedure takes one to two months.
This is information is not legal advice; it is information only. Please consult an attorney if you need direction on what procedure to use in your case.
Diana Wade is a Legal Document Assistant. She can be reached at (661) 821-0494 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Diana is not an attorney; she can only provide self-help services at your specific direction. Kern County LDA #185, ex 4/11/23.