Answers to Common Questions and Situations

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When is real estate inherited by the family?

What happens when property is owned by two people and one of them dies?  Is the real estate inherited by the family?

two names on deed one person diesThis is a common question about inheritance in Georgia. The answer depends on what the title to the property says. The relationship between the co-owners (whether married or not married, family or not family, etc.) does not come into play in this question, and will not change the answer.

Georgia probate law has two different ways that two people can own property together. One is tenants-in-common and the other is joint tenants with rights of survivorship.

The difference between these two types of ownership is that an interest in tenants-in-common property becomes an asset of the deceased person’s estate, and can be inherited by the deceased owner’s heirs or beneficiaries. If the property is titled as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, however, then the property does not go into the deceased owner’s estate and the title will automatically go to the other owner when one of the owners dies.

Looking at the deed is the only way to determine which way the property is titled. When looking at the real estate deed, you should be looking for the words joint or joint tenants. If those words are on the deed, then it is very likely that the property is titled jointly. If the words joint or joint tenants are not on the deed, or are not in the right spot on the deed, then the property will most likely be tenants-in-common.

One of the most amazing things about investigating a question like this is how often people believe that real estate is titled one way, only to find out after there has been a death that it is titled another way.

If you have a situation like this, we recommend that you seek the advice of an experienced probate attorney to help you determine what happens to the property. Contact us for a free consultation. 

Disclaimer: The information above is provided for general information only and should not be considered legal advice. Our probate lawyers provide legal advice to our clients after talking about the specific circumstances of the client’s situation. Our law firm cannot give you legal advice unless we undertsand your situation by talking with you. Please contact our law office to receive specific information about your situation.

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About the author

Erik J. Broel
Founder & ceo

Erik founded the firm in 2009. He sees it as his personal mission to demystify the process of handling an estate or trust, and to help people by making the complex estate process simple and accessible. He believes there is always a better way to do things, and loves finding new and innovative ways to deliver better, more effective service that solves the client’s key problem or issue, and improves the client’s life.

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