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Discussion Starter #1
I've searched the internet and this forum but haven't been able to find any information...

My husband (Mexican) and his brother are in the process of dividing the "family" property we all live on. It's been in their family for a number of generations. My husband and I live in the house he built. His brother lives in the original family home. We are using a lawyer to help process the paperwork. My husband believes it's just simpler for him to put the property in his name alone but he also believes that because we are married it's legally my property too. I'm thinking he may be wrong about that.

Here's my question/dilemma. My husband seems to believe that when he dies, should I still be alive, the property would be mine outright. I'm thinking that because the property would be in his name only and because we married "separacion bienes" the property upon his death would revert back to his brothers and sisters and I could very likely end up out on the street! He wants to protect my interests... and so I am wondering if putting the property in both our names would protect me should he die before me? I worked with real estate law in the US many years ago but I know from hard experience that things in Mexico can be very different.

Anyone have any background or info on this sort of thing? I can't seem to find anything in the cyber world regarding inheritance law in Mexico. Thanks!
 

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I've searched the internet and this forum but haven't been able to find any information...

My husband (Mexican) and his brother are in the process of dividing the "family" property we all live on. It's been in their family for a number of generations. My husband and I live in the house he built. His brother lives in the original family home. We are using a lawyer to help process the paperwork. My husband believes it's just simpler for him to put the property in his name alone but he also believes that because we are married it's legally my property too. I'm thinking he may be wrong about that.

Here's my question/dilemma. My husband seems to believe that when he dies, should I still be alive, the property would be mine outright. I'm thinking that because the property would be in his name only and because we married "separacion bienes" the property upon his death would revert back to his brothers and sisters and I could very likely end up out on the street! He wants to protect my interests... and so I am wondering if putting the property in both our names would protect me should he die before me? I worked with real estate law in the US many years ago but I know from hard experience that things in Mexico can be very different.

Anyone have any background or info on this sort of thing? I can't seem to find anything in the cyber world regarding inheritance law in Mexico. Thanks!
Why not ask a trustworthy Mexican lawyer your question?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ahm, yup, but I haven't found a trustworth mexican lawyer as of yet! I was ready to ask if that might be an oxymoron but I suppose it's not fair to generalize.

I'm hoping that someone here might have had some experience or personal knowledge of howsuch things work.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
ok, smart ass comment aside... it's my understanding that lawyers (abogados) in mexico are not trained and knowledgable in matters of real estate or inheritance.
 
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You need to talk to a Notario. They are the only attorneys in MX who can deal with both real estate and wills. Ask someone you know and trust for a recommendation.

Here is one listing of Notarios on the internet for Tequis:

Notaria Publica No 11
Centenario sur 17 a, tequisquiapan 76750, Tequisquiapan (Queretaro)
Tel: (414) 273-1241


Notaria Publica No 2
Abasolo 10 a, centro 76800, Tequisquiapan (Queretaro)
Tel: (427) 272-0944
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you. I'll check into that. I need to learn about the differences between abogados and notarios. I worked for lawyers in the US... it's a whole different system here.
 

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Thank you. I'll check into that. I need to learn about the differences between abogados and notarios. I worked for lawyers in the US... it's a whole different system here.
Notarios are also abogados, ones with specialized knowledge in areas like property and inheritance law. Of course, it's a different system here - after all, it is a different country!;)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Muchas gracia ****** Carlos for the extra bit of legwork you did for me. I'll give a call on Monday.
 

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You should definitely appear on the deed. You will own 50% of the property with your husband owning the other 50%. In Mexico, a survivor must get a new deed upon the death of a spouse and there will be 'closing costs' on that 50%. Only a NOTARIO can deal with these matters and they 'buyer' has the right to choose the notario.
 

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If I were you I would have at least two names on the deed. A friend of mine was in Mexico last month dealing with exactly this. His mother passed away and all of the property in Jalisco was in her name only. It took 6 1/2 weeks and 70,000 pesos to get the deeds transferred into his name. This could have all been avoided either by having two names on the deeds and having a will. It was a tough lesson to learn.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Good thought. I was thinking that when I do meet with the Notaria I will have Wills made up as well. Small price to pay now rather than have to deal with bigger issues down the road.
 

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Good thought. I was thinking that when I do meet with the Notaria I will have Wills made up as well. Small price to pay now rather than have to deal with bigger issues down the road.
Wills are half price in September. I believe this is true all over the country but it is certainly true in Jalisco.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
That's interesting. I would never have imagined. Any idea why this is done? It ought to be done in the US! It's very sad to see what happens when folks don't make out a Will and probate takes it's toll. I don't know how expensive it is here but I know it was costly in Florida.
 

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That's interesting. I would never have imagined. Any idea why this is done? It ought to be done in the US! It's very sad to see what happens when folks don't make out a Will and probate takes it's toll. I don't know how expensive it is here but I know it was costly in Florida.
I got a simple will with just default options leaving things to my two kids and naming one of them executor for about $1300 mxn. That was last September during the discount month.
 

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Is there a Mexican equivalent to owning in joint tenancy?

What I read here implies that all properties owned by more than one person are owned in the equivalent of tenants in common.

With joint tenancy, both tenants own 100% of the property, so if one dies, the other becomes the sole owner with no issues.

It sounds as though that's not a possibility in MX?
 

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Is there a Mexican equivalent to owning in joint tenancy?

What I read here implies that all properties owned by more than one person are owned in the equivalent of tenants in common.

With joint tenancy, both tenants own 100% of the property, so if one dies, the other becomes the sole owner with no issues.

It sounds as though that's not a possibility in MX?
It appears that you understand the differences. Each spouse owns 50% & must inherit the other 50%, using a notario and paying the associated fees for a new 'escritura'.
 

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It appears that you understand the differences. Each spouse owns 50% & must inherit the other 50%, using a notario and paying the associated fees for a new 'escritura'.
And that is the reason why wills are so important. If I understand correctly, if for example the husband died without a will, the property would not necessarily go to the wife as it woud in the US or Canada. She would simply retain her 50% share.

In the event that the land was completely in the husbands name and there was no will, upon his death the wife might not inherit any of the property at all. Mexican law is completely different from what we have become used to NOB. And that applies to many of their laws.

Is this the correct understanding?
 

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And that is the reason why wills are so important. If I understand correctly, if for example the husband died without a will, the property would not necessarily go to the wife as it woud in the US or Canada. She would simply retain her 50% share.

In the event that the land was completely in the husbands name and there was no will, upon his death the wife might not inherit any of the property at all. Mexican law is completely different from what we have become used to NOB. And that applies to many of their laws.

Is this the correct understanding?
As is usually the case, your excellent answer brought up another question.

We have wills, but they are "American wills."

Would the equivalent of "I leave everything to my spouse, X, and if s/he should precede me in death, to our offspring A, B, C, D per stirpes" work in MX, or is it necessary to state, "I leave my 50% of the property located at Dream Retirement Living."??
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I have yet to see a notario for a definitive answer to my question, but in the meantime I did get a response to my query via the AllExperts website, as quoted below:

"The laws regarding marital property and intestate sucession in Mexico are very similar to those in the United States. The portion of the property received by your husband falls outside the marital family property even if the marriage was under the regime of "bienes mancomunados". However, if your husband dies, and there is no will, the property will go to you and any children you had with him. If he executes a will, he can explicitly leave the property to you.

I think the best option is for your husband to execute a will leaving the property to you.
Another clever option is to donate the property to you and have him reserve a life estate (usufructo vitalicia). In that case, no need to worry about a will or a intestate sucession.
Hope all this helps.
Sincerely,
Lic. John Lee Ward
Córdoba, Veracruz


I still intend to follow up with a notario and will definitely have Wills drawn in September! My understanding is that one would need to have both a US Will and a Mexican Will in order to avoid probate issues.
 

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American wills

As is usually the case, your excellent answer brought up another question.

We have wills, but they are "American wills."

Would the equivalent of "I leave everything to my spouse, X, and if s/he should precede me in death, to our offspring A, B, C, D per stirpes" work in MX, or is it necessary to state, "I leave my 50% of the property located at Dream Retirement Living."??
I have heard it works both ways but cannot confirm that an American will will be honored in Mexico so that the property will be transferred over to the dependent without trouble or taxes being added as if you sold it to them. In my case I have both, a Mexican and American will, just to be safe, and clarify everything in detail on both sides of the border.

I have a friend who recently was getting sued over property in her name, his niece, a Mexican National by an ex wife of her uncle, the owner of the house without a fidiecomiso, in Mexico. The ex wife, also a Mexican National, lost and she, my friend, as a Mexican National gave the property to her uncle's son, an American born in the USA, as requested in his American will. The taxes were limited but not nothing that she ended up having to pay as a favor to her uncle, born in the USA also. His son then paid for a fidiecomiso and the whole thing took 2 years and cost mucho dinero. Had he had a fidiecomiso himself [uncle] this would have been different, I would presume. The house was near the Sea of Cortez in Baja. So my advise is to have 2 wills with instructions on both and being clearly stated.
 
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