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Guru_Guy
Guru_Guy, Lawyer (JD)
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Experience:  My specialties include Civil Rights and Constitutional law, as well as general practice issues.
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I own a Florida property as Joint Tenants with rights of ...

Resolved Question:

I own a Florida property as Joint Tenants with rights of survivorship with my dad, and sister, each own equal shares. If my dad marries before he dies, is his wife granted a Life Estate in my property? How would my sister and I be affected, if at all?

Can you please link the appropriate Florida that would address the above question?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Guru_Guy replied 8 years ago.
If a property is a joint tenancy, the remainder rights of a property go automatically to the remaining tenants. A tenant cannot leave any property interest, including a life estate, to another party.   

Even if your father wills a life estate to someone, that is not valid. Because your father's property interest extinguishes automatically upon his death, he cannot leave any interest beyond his death to any other person.

Joint Tenancy with right of survivorship is a common law term, not defined in Florida's statutes. Florida law by default says that jointly owned properties are not to be considered joint tenancies with right of survivorship unless the instrument expressly provides for right of survivorship (Fl. Stat. Chap. 689 Sec. 15). The term is used elsewhere in the statute but is not defined.

However, there are numerous court cases in Florida that spell out how a joint tenancy works, e.g. D. A. D., Inc. v. Moring 218 So. 2d 451 (1969). I can't point to a specific Florida case that is online that spells out the basic common law definition online, but this article spells out how it works:

http://library.findlaw.com/2000/Apr/1/129100.html

I hope this helps!

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