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Right of Survivorship Questions

The right of survivorship is a ‘joint tenancy’ contract signed between two or more parties specifying their simultaneous ownership of some form of property. It determines what happens to the property after one of its owners dies. On the demise of one of the joint tenants, ownership of the remaining property passes on to the surviving successors who assert the right of survivorship. This is a powerful legal right, and lack of awareness of his rights as a successor of property may lead to questions. Read below some of the questions that have been answered by Experts.

What is the right of survivorship? What is a warranty of habitability?

The right of survivorship means that the surviving joint owner of a property succeeds to the full interest in the property on the demise/death of the other joint owner. The interest of the deceased party ceases to exist. The warranty of habitability is a guarantee that the property is suitable to live in.

How could an individual be certain of his/her right of survivorship?

Generally a home deed will state both parties as ‘tenants by the entirety’ or ‘joint tenants with rights of survivorship’.

With joint tenancy right of survivorship in Florida, can one of the parties transfer his/her half to another party and sever the joint tenancy?

It is possible for one of the parties to transfer their half to another party by filing a written declaration of their intent to sever the joint tenancy. This form will need filed with the county recorder’s office where the property is located. The execution of a new deed reflecting the severance may also be required. The forms could probably be collected from the local recording office or an attorney could draft the severance for the individual to file with the court. A person can obtain the forms at the local recording office and file themselves. The other option would be to hire an attorney to file the forms for them.

If one of the ‘joint tenants’ for life with the right of survivorship does not pay his/her share of the bills, can he/she be terminated from the right of survivorship?

As a joint tenant owner, they will be obligated to pay half of the ongoing bills. This would include all maintenance of the property. If this obligation is not upheld, the joint tenant could file a claim to try and recoup those costs. Often this could end in a judgment and a lien placed on the interest and 100% ownership of the property is regained.

If the owner of one third of a property with a right of survivorship signs a quick claim deed to another party, on his demise, can the family of the third party get any part of the property? If someone owns 1/3 of a property with right of survivorship, signs a quick claim deed to another party, if the owner passes away, does the family of the deceased have any right to the property in whole or in part?

A joint tenancy deed with a right of survivorship will pass the person's interest upon death to the other person named in the deed if this arrangement is specified in the deed.

If one of the joint tenants with the right of survivorship on the deed of a house dies with credit card debt, will the successor have to pay up the debt?

The successor will not need to pay off the credit card debts unless the creditors file a claim against the estate of the deceased and if the estate has money to pay off the debts.

Though a joint tenancy deed with a right of survivorship is good, on the demise of one of the joint tenants, the surviving tenant may not be aware of his rights. When one is not aware of his rights, questions may arise. Many times a quick question to an Expert could prove to be beneficial.
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