Q: My dad and I are joint tenants of a home. If my dad passes does full ownership transfer over me or his wife?
We recently purchased a home and my dad is married to someone that is not my mother. Would his rights of the property transfer to me or would it be handed over to his spouse. When we closed on the home, they did make her sign a paper acknowledging that she was not going to be on the deed to the home.
A: So long as neither of you (your dad or you) transfer your half of the property during your father's lifetime, then you will receive his half upon his death -- even if your father's trust or will says otherwise.
A: If the joint tenancy deed remains intact, then you will be the sole owner upon your father's passing. However, you will need to file/record an Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant with the county recorder's office. However, a joint tenancy deed can be terminated if either joint tenant records a deed that transfers the property to both owners as tenants in common. From there, either party can transfer their 50% ownership to a third party.
The answer is, as is always the case, it depends.
If the "paper" your step-mother signed was an "inter-spousal grant deed," and that deed granted your father title to the property as "his sole and separate property," then your father took full title and could dispose of the property as his estate planning dictates, if he has any. Even as his sole and separate property, the new spouse that contributes to the funding of the purchase or refinance payment may have a claim to some fraction of the title to the property.
Further, if there are community property debts incurred during the pendency of the marriage, that remain unpaid at your father's death, creditors may seek recovery from the community property first, and then to the separate property assets of both spouses, including this property. That does not address the respective rights or claims of your siblings or your father's heirs, which could be addressed in a revocable trust.
Your question suggests many issues may arise from this acquisition. I strongly advise your consultation with an experienced estate, will, and trust attorney about your understanding of the conveyance.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.