What happens if a co-owner of real estate dies?

My husband and I bought vacant land 25 years ago after we were married. When we were buying our now house we needed cash so we offered my brother-in-law (husband’s brother) to come in as partner on the land. It was never divided; we all just owned all of it. My brother-in-law was single at the time and he is on the deed. Then, 4 years ago, he committed suicide. The family thinks that 1/2 of the vacant land goes to his widow. Since we were all partners and he did not have a Will, I understand that his portion reverts back to us. Correct or not?

Asked on November 18, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Michigan

Answers:

G.J., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The answer to this question really depends on how you owned the land with your brother-in-law. If you owned it in a joint tenancy with a right to survivorship- then the property will transfer to the co-owners that are still alive. If you owned the property as tenant in common- then your brother-in-laws intrest in the property will go into his estate.


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