If I have joint tenant with right of survivorship, do I still own half before the Grantor dies?
I have joint tenant with right of survivorship between my mother and I on her house. Do I own half of the house even though she’s still living or do I not own the house until she passes?
4 attorney answers
Joint ownership means that you own half the house now, as does she. But because you posted this question in the elder law category, I suspect there is a deeper question here that you are not yet asking. Perhaps a question involving whether the house is going to be automatically protected in connection with Medicaid if your mother winds up becoming ill and needing nursing home care? And the answer to that question is no — if in fact that is your question, you should speak with an experienced elder law attorney. Many of us offer free initial consultations.
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If the property is in Virginia, please review the deed to confirm that it is "joint tenants with the right of survivorship" (JTWROS) and not "tenants in common" or some other ownership. Assuming it is JTWROS, you own half of the property and your mother owns half of the property. If one of the two of you pass away, the survivor owns the whole property.
If the property is not in Virginia, you will need advice from an attorney in the other state.
This answer does not create an attorney - client relationship. All legal answers are subject to the facts and circumstances of the particular matter and no answer provided here can be relied on as a specific answer to a specific question.
You both presently have an ownership in the house of 50%, but the survivor automatically receives the decedent's interest upon her passing.
In joint tenancy with right of survivorship, all "joint tenants" (owners whose names are on the deed) own an equal share of the property. Here, you say that you and your mother are joint tenants, so you both own a 50% share. The "right of survivorship" means that when one of the two owners (in your scenario) dies, the surviving owner (joint tenant) then owns the property 100%. The decedent's share passes automatically to the survivor.
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