Sunnyvale, CA asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for California

Q: How can you tell if your joint tenancy in California has "right of survivorship"? Or is it automatic?

I am a joint tenant with a friend on a house. On the deed, it says that we are both unmarried and are awarded as joint tenants. There is no mention of "right of survivorship". My friend just passed away. Does half of the property goes to his heir?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Bruce Adrian Last
Bruce Adrian Last
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Pleasant Hill, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Dear Sunnyvale:

The right of survivorship is automatic with joint tenancy. It is this that distinguishes it from a tenancy-in-common.

Real property held as joint tenancy passes to the surviving joint tenant(s) by operation of law upon the death of one of the Joint Tenants. This means that it does not go though probate. You do need to record an affidavit of death with the County Recorder to perfect your title.

You should consider having an attorney help you in drafting and recording the affidavit of death. If you do not know where to find an attorney, you can contact your local county bar association's attorney referral service.

Bill Sweeney agrees with this answer

1 user found this answer helpful

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