Who has rights to a house I a co-owner dies?

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Who has rights to a house I a co-owner dies?

My girlfriend and I were living together but she passed away. She and I are both on the property deed but I’m only on the morgage. Now her kid are saying that I need to sell the house and give them half. Is this true?

Asked on March 11, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Being on the mortgage has no effect as to ownership; the title is the controlling document. If you and your late girlfriend were on the title as "joint tenants with right of survivorship", then upon her death you became vested with full ownership. If, however, you were no so listed then you were tenants-in-common. This means that her estate is now entitled to her share. And in a case where co-owners cannot agree as to whether or not to sell, the law provides the remedy of "partition". Effectively, what happens is the property will be ordered to be sold and the proceeds will be equitably split among the owners. First, however, any owner who wants to keep the property will be given the right to buy out the others. Bottom line, see just how the deed to the property has the both of you holding title.


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