tenants in common

a married couple buys a home. a spouse dies. who does the property go to if the deed has the words “tenants in common” in it? There is no will. Does it go to the surviving spouse? Thanks, vmg

Asked on June 16, 2009 under Estate Planning, New Hampshire

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Typically a married couple will hold property as "joint tenants", then upon the death of one of the spouses the other spouse automatically inherits the deceaced spouse's share.  But here you held the property as "tenants in common".  What this means is that upon the death of one of the parties, the deceased's share goes to their heirs.  It would typically pass according to the terms of their will; but since your spouse was intestate (that means died without a will) their share would pass according to the intestacy laws of your state.

In New Hampshire the law is a follows:  If you die intestate, your assets will be divided amongst your immediate family. Your spouse will receive your entire estate if you do not have children or parents. If you do not have children but you have parents, your spouse will receive the first $250,000 plus one-half of the balance of your estate with the remainder going to your parents.

If you have children and all of them are also your spouse's children, your spouse will receive the first $250,000 plus one-half of the balance of your estate with the remainder going to your children. If you have children and all of them are also your spouse's children but you spouse has additional children that are not your children, your spouse will receive the first $150,000 plus one-half of the balance of your estate with the remainder going to your children. If you have children but not all of them are your spouse's children, your spouse will receive the first $100,000 plus one-half of the balance of your estate with the remainder going to your children.


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