What happens to our house if my boyfriend dies?

We live in MN and are not married. The house is in both of our names.

Asked on September 25, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Minnesota


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you own the house as "joint tenants with rights of survivorship" ("JTROS"), then upon your boyfriend's death, you would be vested with 100% ownership of the property as the surviving tenant (i.e. owner). However, if there was no survivorship designation, then you hold the property as "tenants in common, which means that upon his death, your boyfriend's share of the property will become part of his estate and accordingly be distributed per the terms of his Will or state intestacy law (if there is no Will).

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If it is owned, as it is most likely is, as a joint tenancy with right of survivorship ("JTROS"), then if and when he passes, it becomes yours automatically as the surviving "tenant" (in this case, that's an old term for property owner) without going through probate. However, you may have to pay off or refinance any mortgage or home equity loan if he, one of the signatories to the loan, passes away.

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