If I co-own property with my boyfriend and he dies before me, who owns his share?

UPDATED: Jun 9, 2011

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If I co-own property with my boyfriend and he dies before me, who owns his share?

Title is “single persons, buyers”. My boyfriend has no Will. He has 2 children. Do they inherit his share or will I become sole owner?

Asked on June 9, 2011 under Estate Planning, Alaska


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unless the deed reads your names followed by "Joint tenants with rights of survivorship" (JTWROS), the law presumes that you hold this property as "tenants in common".  Accordingly, when a tenant in common dies their share passes to their estate not to the other joint owner.  So, in your case, since your boyfriend doesn't have a Will, if he dies he will dies "intestate".  Consequently his share of the property will go to his children. If you want your boyfriend's share to pass to you by  "operation of law" (i.e. automatically) you will need to amend the deed to read as "JTWROS".

You really should consult directly with a real estate attorney in your area.

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