I want to make sure of how title was held as between you and the decedent. There is a big difference as between joint owners with right of survivorship and tenants in common.
The designation of joint tenancy vs. tenants in common provides different rights and assignations of duty.
What is Tenants in Common
Tenants in Common is one of the ways to hold title in property by two or more individuals.
There is no limit to the number of individuals who can hold title to one piece of real estate
. A property held by tenants in common can be owned by two owners or 100+ owners.
Tenant in Common ownership
can be held in equal shares or unequal shares. For example, John could hold 50% ownership, Mary 25% and Tallulah 25%.
Co-tenants have the right to possess the property by one tenant or by all the tenants. Tallulah can live in the property by herself or share the property with John and Mary. Neither tenant can exclude the other.
Upon death, the interest of the deceased co-tenant will pass to the co-tenant's heirs. If Tallulah died, John would still hold 50%, Mary would own 25%, but Tallulah's 25% would pass to whomever she designated in her will.
Joint tenancy requires each tenant to have equal interest or ownership in addition to having equal rights of possession. The owners, who receive the title on the same deed and at the same time, have the right to break a joint tenancy, and create a tenancy in common
, by selling their share of the property to another individual. Since joint tenancy results in the decedent's share being passed on to the surviving tenants, it involves the right of survivorship. A property, that is held under joint tenancy, cannot be sold without the permission of all the tenants.