Joint Ownership of Property – Real Estate
Updated: Feb 12, 2019
Not all of your property will necessarily pass under your Will when you die. Property may go automatically to another person if you have joint ownership. Who receives joint property on your death may depend entirely on the terms of a joint bank account, deed, or other contract. It is important to understand the consequences of joint ownership of property.
Joint Real Estate. If you hold title to property in your name alone, title will pass according to the terms of your Will. If you have no Will, then it will pass according to the laws of intestacy. It is common for a husband and wife to hold title to their home or other real estate together. This is called ownership as “tenants by the entireties.” When one spouse dies, the property passes automatically to the other spouse, no matter what the Will says about the property. A survivorship affidavit will be filed at the county auditor’s office and recorder’s office to update the ownership records when the first spouse dies.
It’s also possible to hold property jointly with someone not your spouse. Joint ownership with someone else can be either with survivorship rights or without. If there is a right of survivorship, then your ownership will pass to the surviving owner. If there are no survivorship rights, then the owners are “tenants in common.” A tenant in common’s interest does not pass to the other co-owner; instead, it passes under your Will, or according to intestacy laws if there is no Will.
If you want to evaluate alternatives for ownership of real estate, you should consult one of our attorneys. There may be important consequences in a transfer or change of ownership.