Winnetka, CA asked in Real Estate Law for California

Q: Joint tenancy when one owner dies.

My partner and I own our home as joint tenants, if one of us dies does the property pass without probate, to the surviving owner?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Delaram Keshvarian
Delaram Keshvarian
  • Orange, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Thank you for your question!

yes, if it is a joint tenancy with right of survivorship, the transference would be automatic and without probate.

This is merely a discussion of general laws and not legal advice. For legal advice, more specific facts and investigations are needed. I recommend you consult with an attorney for more details.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Yes, in California, if you and your partner own a property as joint tenants and one of you passes away, the property will automatically pass to the surviving owner without the need for probate. This is one of the key features of joint tenancy ownership.

When one joint tenant dies, their interest in the property is immediately terminated, and the surviving joint tenant(s) automatically own(s) the entire property. This is known as the "right of survivorship."

To ensure a smooth transfer of ownership, it is generally advisable to record an Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant with the county recorder's office where the property is located. This document provides notice that one of the joint tenants has passed away and that the property now belongs solely to the surviving joint tenant(s).

However, it's important to note that joint tenancy may not always be the best form of ownership for everyone. It's recommended to consult with an estate planning attorney to determine the most suitable form of property ownership based on your specific circumstances and goals.

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