The attorney told you correctly. Unless a deed says that the ownership is as "joint tenants with rights of survivorship" (which means that whoever lives longest ends up with all of the property), the property was held as tenants in common. This means that each owns 1/2 of the land and when one dies, that person's 1/2 interest goes to his/her heirs at law/beneficiaries in the will. If your father has deeded the property to his four children and himself, everyone owns 1/5 of 1/2 of the property. When he passes away, his 1/5 will be divided equally between the 4 kids - meaning each kid will end up owning 1/4 of 1/2 of the land.
The other 1/2 will be owned by his ex.
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