Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
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Are they actually taking title as joint owners?
Ok, that presents a problem.... If they are listed as "joint owners with right of survivorship" or any similar language, then when one of them passes, the other becomes the instant owner of the entire property. Jointly owned property doesn't go through probate so as to be controlled by a will.
So if they want to be able to pass their 50% down to their heirs through their wills, they need to take title as "tenants in common" stated specifically on the deed.
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Is it possible that with joint ownership that she can just buy us out as the heirs or can she just take ownership and not give us any proceeds?
If friend and mother own a property jointly, then if mother passes first the friend owns the building instantly and doesn't have to pay any heirs anything.
If they take title as tenants in common, then mother's half would pass down according to her will to her heirs.
Like if she legally gets the home, based on my moms Will, is she legally obligated to make sure we get our inheritance or can she ignore the Will altogether?
If mother gives her the house in her will, then it is the friends. Whoever is executor of mother's estate would be responsible for transferring the house to the friend and then distributing the rest of the assets to the other heirs.
So basically unless mother wants friend to end up with the house, she shouldn't take title on the deed as joint tenants.
Did you have any further questions I can help with?