Hi, I will be happy to assist you, and it is my goal to make you a very satisfied customer! This may take a few minutes, so thanks for your patience.
Does the deed refer to them in the first paragraph as "joint tenants" or "joint tenants with right of survivorship"?
The deed was drawn up in 1974, I don't see anything referring to them as tenants of any kind.
If it doesn't mention anything about joint tenancy, then it is community property held as tenants in common. For an intestate estate, property is distributed 1/2 to the surviving spouse (the 1/2 she already owned) and 1/2 to your father's children, including you. Thus, she would only own half and could not transfer full legal title to anyone. She would only be able to convey her 1/2 of the community property. You would need a local estate/probate attorney to assist you with probating your father's estate so that you and your siblings could receive your 1/2 share of the home.
If the property had been held as joint tenants, then all interest would have automatically passed to your step-mother on your father's death and she would have the right to do what she wanted with the property. But if the deed doesn't make specific reference to a joint tenancy, then there is no joint tenance.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX a lot!
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).