Q: I have been married only two years. I purchased this townhouse a year ago in my name only. She and I want to make sure she does not inherit it and the mortgage when I die.
A: You need to talk to an estate lawyer. If your spouse is not on the deed, nor on the mortgage, that is a good start. However, she could still inherit from your estate. To avoid this, you can disinherit her from your entire estate in your Last Will and Testament. You can also leave the home specifically to someone else in your will. As a spouse, if she is disinherited from the will, she can file an “election” against the will. If she has no interest in doing so, then it should accomplish what you want. It shouldn’t happen, but when someone inherits from an estate, and there is an unpaid mortgage, I have seen legal counsel for the mortgage company, sue the heir or heirs of the estate when the mortgage was not satisfied. I have had this happen even when the heirs filed a disclaimer against the estate. You should consult with an estate planning attorney and go over all the options. The only way to assure she will not inherit it is by leaving it to someone in your will. If you have no will, she may inherit all or a portion of it under state law. You may just need a will.