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If 2 people have their name on a deed and one dies, does the house automatically go to the other deed holder?

Richmond, VA |

My ex and I have been divorced for 9 years and both of our names are on the deed of the house he has been living in. We lived there together for 20 years before we divorced. In the divorce decree it stated that he could live there as long as he made the payments but if he moved or defaulted then the house was to be sold and divided equally between us. So now that he has died does the house automatically go to me and does his children have any claim on it? He didn't have a will.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. I believe it is automatic if they hold the title in Joint Tenancy, but you need to speak with a local attorney.


  2. You need to consult a local estate attorney. In most states, when people own property together and then divorce, the divorce decree converts their ownership to a tenancy in common. That means that they each own half, and if either dies, that person;'s share passes to his or her estate. If the person left a will, the will would deternine who are the beneficiaries of the estate. If no will, state intestacy law controls, which names close relatives in order of priority, which does not include former spouses. So, odds are that you are a half owner and your ex's estate owns the other half. Normally that would be his children.

    Please note that I do not practice in your state and the above is not intended as legal advice, is for educational purposes only.

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