My brother and I own a house 50/50. Will the house automatically pass to one of us if the other dies?

Asked by

Joint ownership of a house. My brother and I own a house 50/50. Will the house automatically pass to one of us if the other dies or do we need to see a lawyer to sign some kind of document to avoid probate.

Answers 1 to 6 of 6
Expert Answer
415 helpful answers
There are two types of joint real estate ownership: (i) tenants in common, and (ii) joint tenants with rights of survivorship (JTWROS). Only the second one will avoid probate and have the property vest in the survivor. Check the deed and see what it says and then double check with an attorney. He/she can tell in one minute by reading the deed and understanding any possible quirks in your state real estate law, and such quick consultation will not cost much at all.
How is the deed titled?

If it's titled as [your name] and [brother's name], as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, title should pass directly to the surviving sibling. However, I would consult an attorney to confirm that title is vested properly so that Probate can be avoided. Never hurts to be cautious. And there are other forms of joint tenancy that you might want to discuss with an attorney.
For what it's worth, when my partner and I bought our house 15 years ago, that's how we wanted it set up. When we went in last year to set up wills and trusts, we discovered that had NOT happened--so it definitely helps to have an expert look over the paperwork.
I would consult a Real Estate attorney. They understand those laws better than most.
My sig other ran into the issue of when his wife had passed away, he assumed he would now own the house in his name only. He never realized, or paid attention, that the Deed was written as "tenants in common" when he went to closing on the house...... thus his wife's two sons from a previous marriage now had half ownership in the house.
My dad & his brother & sister all own a home. The sister died now it is just the brothers. But the clerk said it all depends on how the deed is worded. If it dosent say survivorship passes down then they will have to go through probate and that can be $3000-$6000. Plus her husband probley owns her 3rd of the real estate. He is tied up with IRS so we dont know what to do as no one can afford to go to court. They are both in their 70's on social security.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support