If my dad and I are joint owners of the house, who gets it when he passes away?

My father and I are co-borrowers on the mortgage and we are both on the title of the. My mother had bad credit so that is why I am on it instead of her. I also

have a half-brother from my father’s previous marriage. My father does not have a Will. What happens to the home when my father passes away? Can my half-brother be able to come after the home and get his part of the equity or try to buy me out of it or is he not entitled to anything? I want to ensure that my mother and I are safe. My half brother had no interest in being a part of this family so I do not want him to come around trying to get money out of our father’s death. I live in CA.

Asked on September 11, 2018 under Estate Planning, California


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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If you own the property as "joint tenants with rights of survivorship", then upon your father's passing you will become 100% vested in the property. No one else will have a claim to it. However, if there is no survivorship language, then typically the property will be deemed held as "tenants in common". This means that the deceased owner's estate will have rights to their share. In other words, your father's heirs stand to inherit.

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Joint owners have a right of survivorship, which means that upon your dad's death, you inherit the house.  Your half brother has no claim to the house.  
The right of survivorship is also applicable to joint tenants.  Upon the death of one joint tenant, the other joint tenant inherits the real property (home).

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