If3 people own a house and1of themdies, how is the house split if there is no Will?

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If3 people own a house and1of themdies, how is the house split if there is no Will?

This person that died did not have anyone to pass their part to.

Asked on August 22, 2011 Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Just how the property is divided depends on just how title is held. If the deed reads, "X, Y and X as joint tenants with rights of  (or JYWROS)", then the deceased owner's share goes to the surviving owners. This happens by operation of law; in other words automatically. In turn, if the property is not sold before the death of 1 of the 2 remaining owners, the then surviving owner will own 100% of the property.

If, on the other hand, the dead reads "X,Y and Z, as tenants-in-common" or the deed simply reads, "X, Y, and Z", then a tenancy in common has been formed. This means the each owner's share is freely transferable and can be inherited. So upon the death of an owner, their beneficiaries will inherit if there is a Will and if there is not Will (as in this case) then the deceased's legal heirs will inherit.

Note:  If there are no legal heirs, then the deceased's share will pass through "escheat" to the state.


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