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What happens to the family home when a spouse dies?

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2023 | Probate

Losing a spouse is an emotional and challenging experience. Even amidst the grief, though, there are practical matters that demand attention.

One important consideration is what happens to jointly-owned property under Nevada law when one spouse passes away. This is a complex matter that you can untangle by keeping a few key points in mind.

Community property in Nevada

Nevada is a community property state, meaning that spouses equally own property acquired during the marriage. This includes the family home. When one spouse dies, the right of survivorship comes into effect for matters of inheritance.

Right of survivorship

Many married couples choose joint tenancy with the right of survivorship when acquiring real estate. In Nevada, this means that when one spouse dies, the other automatically inherits the deceased spouse’s share of the property. This process avoids probate, the legal process of distributing a deceased person’s estate.

Handling the deceased spouse’s share

If the deceased spouse’s share is not automatically transferred due to joint tenancy or another form of ownership with right of survivorship, the surviving spouse may need to go through probate. Probate involves proving the validity of the deceased spouse’s will, if there is one, and distributing the assets according to the law.

Intestate succession

If the deceased spouse did not leave a will, the distribution of their property follows the rules of intestate succession. In Nevada, this typically means that the surviving spouse inherits a significant portion of the estate, with the rest going to the deceased spouse’s children, parents, or other close relatives.

Data shows that there are 1,269,846 housing units in Nevada. While not all of these belong to married homeowners, it remains the case that those sharing a home with a loved one need to understand what happens to the property when the other person passes away.