Phoenix, AZ asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Arizona

Q: Who owns the property ?

My stepmom and father passed away within two weeks of each other. My dad survived her by 10 days. The deed to their house is set up for right to survivorship. For probate purposes is my dad the sole owner of the house (since she passed away before him) or is it community property (split equally in half) since they are now both deceased?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Gregory Christopher Poulos
Gregory Christopher Poulos
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: The answer to this question is in a reading of the deed. That document controls what happens.

For most Arizona deeds for married couples, the title is held in community property with an additional paragraph or page that says upon death the share goes to the surviving spouse. Older deeds sometimes lack that additional language so you have to check.

If the deed however was joint tenants with rights of survivorship, the spouse who survived is the one who would be in title. It just seems that this would have been an unusual way to hold title so make sure to check it out.

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