If 4 brothers own a home and 1 dies with debt to a nursing home and credit cards, does his 1/4 of the home go to pay debts or do

the other 3 now own his share?

Asked on December 31, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It depends how they owned it. If they owned it as joint tenants with right of survivorship (JTROS), then when he passes away, the surviving joint "tenants" instantly and automatically get his share, which does not become part of his estate or go through probate. In this case, his creditors cannot reach the share he'd owned of the house.
But there are other ways of owning property together, such as at tenants in common, which could let creditors reach his share of the home (though they still would not do so automatically; creditors need to take legal action to go after part of a deceased's "estate"). The surviving brothers should bring a copy of a dead to consult with an attorney, who can advise them of their rights in their specific situation.

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