If my mother owns a house with her ex-boyfriend, can she sell me her half of the property?

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If my mother owns a house with her ex-boyfriend, can she sell me her half of the property?

She was told the property cannot be willed to me according to the deed. We are trying to file a partition of sale of property but the other party keeps delaying. My mother is terminally ill and would like to take care of this matter ASAP.

Asked on September 13, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your mother and her ex appear to hold title as "joint tenants with right of survivorship". This means that upon the death of one of them, the other holds sole 100% title to the property. This is why you mother can't Will you her share and why her ex is dragging action his feet regarding the partition (once your mother passes it will all be his). However, as long as your mother is alive she can freely transfer (e.g. sell) her share to anyone. Therefore, you should move immediately to have her do so. I would consult with a real estate attorney as to this.

Note:  Once she conveys you her share, the joint tenancy terminates. You and her ex will then hold title as "tenants in common". This means that not only can you sell your share while you are alive, you can also Will your share upon your death.


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