Parents have been married 63 years. Mom has worked like a dog all her life to her own detriment. Lately I've been getting a strong hunch that my father has or plans to will the house to a religious organization - Jehovah's Witnesses, something mom is opposed to. How do I find out? Please advise. Thank you.
If the property is held as joint tenancy, at the moment of one owner's death the other owner automatically becomes the sole owner. There is no probate. There is no deed. There is nothing to devise in the first owner's will.
If one of the two joint-tenant owners deeds his/her interest to someone else while still alive, the joint tenancy is broken and the property becomes tenancy in common.
If the property is owned by two people as tenancy in common, each can sell or give away his/her interest while alive, and each can devise his/her interest at the time of death. Neither can convey the other person's interest though.
I hope that this is some help.
I represent lenders, landlords and creditors. This answer is based on the viewpoint of a creditors-rights attorney. It's possible that a debtor / tenant / consumer lawyer would provide a different answer or focus on different nuances of the situation. More importantly, it is impossible to provide a reasoned legal opinion in response to any brief internet writeup. My response here is not, and is not intended as, a reasoned legal opinion or legal advice to anyone, including the person who posed the question. Even so, I hope that my comments are some help.
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