Does sole ownership of a co-owned house automatically transfer to the surviving owner after the death of the other?

Over 20 years ago, my grandparents filed a quitclaim deed to add me as co-owner to their home. My grandfather passed several years ago and my grandmother and I have maintained the home until last month when she also passed. Her will divides her assets equally between me and my mother. Does that include the house or do I now have sole ownership?

Asked on March 8, 2017 under Estate Planning, Indiana

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It depends on just how title to the house is held. If it reads, "as joint tenants with rights of survivorship", then upon your grandmother's death, you automatically became 100% owner of the property. If, however, survivorship rights were not specified, the you heold title as a "tenant in common". This means that your grandmother's share of the property is a part of her estate. In other words, her share now goes to her benfciiaries. Based on what you have written, that would mean that you are a 75% owner and your mother holds a 25% ownership interest.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It depends on just how title to the house is held. If it reads, "as joint tenants with rights of survivorship", then upon your grandmother's death, you automatically became 100% owner of the property. If, however, survivorship rights were not specified, the you heold title as a "tenant in common". This means that your grandmother's share of the property is a part of her estate. In other words, her share now goes to her benfciiaries. Based on what you have written, that would mean that you are a 75% owner and your mother holds a 25% ownership interest.


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