Reston, VA asked in Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania

Q: Re. PA real estate, joint tenancy with the right of survivorship, or simply joint tenancy:

When my sister refinanced her condominium in Mont Clare, PA, she added her boyfriend to the title. Wording as follows (quoting the format exactly but using pseudo names for privacy): Owner Name(s): “Doe Jane & Smith John.” The mortgage company told her this wording means that the type of joint ownership is as she requested – i.e., joint tenancy with the right of survivorship, or simply, joint tenancy. (a) Please confirm that the company’s assertion is indeed true. (b) My sister just learned that her boyfriend bequeathed his ownership interest to his daughter in his will. If the ownership is a joint tenancy, doesn't this take precedence over his will if he predeceases my sister? Joint tenancy gives the surviving co-owner the right to the entire property. (c) Can her boyfriend convey some/all of his interest in the condo to his daughter during his lifetime without my sister's consent, thus effectively changing ownership to a tenancy in common per my understanding?

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1 Lawyer Answer

Mark Scoblionko

Answered
  • Allentown, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: If the deed does not specify that it is to be a joint tenancy with right of survivorship, the property is owned a a tenancy in common. Under those circumstances, the boyfriend can bequeath his half interest by Will or can convey it during lifetime.

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