My father and my aunt jointly own some valuable property in the Utica shale oil play of Ohio. My father is in his 80s and in ill health. It is his wish that they add my name and my sister's to the j/s deed on the property so that it will be jointly held by my aunt, my sister and I upon his death. My aunt is saying that she does not want to change the deed but that we should not worry about it because it will all belong to us one day any way. There is a potential for a great deal of oil royalty revenue in the near future as the land is already leased to a major national oil company and wells are being drilled all over the county. Is there anything short of partition that we can do in order to see that my father's wish that my sister's and my ownership is assured prior to his death?
I am not an OH attorney, laws vary from state to state, therefore you should always consult a local attorney.
If you father deeds his interest to you, it would "destroy" the joint tenancy that he has with your aunt and it would convert to a tenancy in common.
I would suggest that you consult with a local Ohio attorney to draft the deed.
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If your father passes first, your aunt is the sole owner and she can do whatever she wants with it. If she passes first, the same goes for our father. You cannot file for partition as you presently have no interest in the property. I am going to guess that your aunt does not want you two on the deed for fear that she will be harmed in some way. While your dad is still with you, get all interested parties to an Akron real estate attorney to explain the law and calm her fears.
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Real Estate Attorney
Joint and survivor ownership for real estate is special
You cannot destroy the survivorship aspect of the deed
If your father deeded to you and your sister - the two of you would own the one-half interest subject to your fathers life - if he dies before your Aunt it is all hers
My feeling is that your father got some bad advice when they bought the property and your Aunt is playing for keeps
Real Estate Attorney
One of my colleagues in our real estate may be able to help you with this. Feel free to give me a call.
This response does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.