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About joint ownership of condo

Discussion in 'Joint Ownership' started by CindiW, Dec 23, 2019.

  1. CindiW

    CindiW Law Topic Starter Member

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    If there are three persons as owners of a condo, if one or two die, does it go to probate court?
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Depends on how the ownership is written on the deed.

    If it's written something like "Moe, Larry, and Curly as Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship" then the condo bypasses probate and the survivors remain the joint owners.

    If it written any other way, then the interest of each dead person has to be probated in accordance with his will or under intestacy.

    So, exactly how is the condo deed written that you are concerned with. Quote it word for word.
     
  3. CindiW

    CindiW Law Topic Starter Member

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    Don't have it written with third party yet, I have to check with condo assn anyway if we can even do that. I wanted to leave it to charity but condo assn says no, we can't do that. But this leads to controversy because if the third person dies then it must be-?- in his will that it reverts to the other 2? Or is it automatically reverted back to the other two?This is too much for me to handle I think. Because I was hoping to avoid probate for the third person (not on there yet). I finally got a lawyer who is writing a will and I'll ask her. As I said I was hoping to make it as simple as possible but everything is sooo complicated as far as I am concerned. Thanks for your response. I'll ask my lawyer. And hope I get the right answer.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2019
  4. CindiW

    CindiW Law Topic Starter Member

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    I'll get copy of deed on file another time soon. Thanks.
     
  5. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Well, who owns it now (spouses, siblings, lovers, other) and how is the current deed written?

    And why are you contemplating putting a third person on the deed?

    Your answers to those two questions might get you some guidance and make things less complicated.

    Read your CC&Rs. The condo people might not have any say in the matter. Though if you want to leave your property to a charity there are better ways to do it than by deed.
     
  6. CindiW

    CindiW Law Topic Starter Member

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    First of all, we were going to leave it to a charity. But the association said no, they don't allow that because they're afraid it would turn into an office. So they banned that and I got a letter from the association's law firm. So that was out. Then I learned that it could be rented by a person benefitting the charity. So the person in charge of the arrangements, a good friend, agreed to take responsibility for that if we die. I know if we need to sell it he would not get in the way. The question is about probate should any of us die. It is me and my husband and possibly the third party. He is not on the deed yet. My aim is to avoid probate. I will ask the lawyer. I've been warned by lawyer there are risks with third party. I trust our friend implicitly, but I want to avoid complications. So let's say he was to die before we do. Then what? Just as a side note, I'm thinking it's less trouble to rent rather than own something. What a mess.
     
  7. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    A trust may be a better vehicle for your estate-planning needs.
     
  8. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    My issue with that (lawyer or no) is that it's none of their business who you leave your property to unless there is some specific prohibition in the CC&Rs. Did they cite a provision of the CC&Rs or any other authority for the decision?

    Being a landlord carries its own problems and the CC&Rs may have limitations.

    Without legal authority, he won't be able to.

    No, you don't know that. Once he becomes an OWNER of the property, lots of things can get in the way of a friendship, not the least of which is money.

    Two alternatives come to mind.

    1 - A "revocable living trust" where the trust owns the property, you and your husband control the property while you are alive. Each of you is trustee and beneficiary of the trust should either of you die. You can name your friend as successor trustee in the event both of you die at the same time. The trust document would contain instructions for the disposition of the property. You can revoke the trust at any time or change the provisions or remove your friend and replace him without jeopardizing your control.

    2 - An "enhanced life estate." Too much to explain. As the lawyer about it.

    Yes. The biggest risk is that he becomes an OWNER of the property and a falling out between you can be disastrous.

    I have been on legal websites since 2001 and have read thousands of serious and costly legal problems that include the words "I trusted."

    Do not make your friend an "owner" of your property. Period.

    More complications. If the deed is written with three way right of survivorship, the two of you get the property. If not, then you end up sharing your property with his relatives. The bigger problems occur while he's alive. Suppose he gets into financial difficulties and somebody sues him, gets a judgment and puts a lien on the property, then forecloses to pay the judgment?

    It's only a mess if you get it wrong. :D
     
  9. flyingron

    flyingron Well-Known Member

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    Note that PUTTING SOMEONE ON THE DEED is not the same as "leaving it to them if you die."

    Deeding property away is immediately and irrevocably giving them some portion of the property. A joint tenancy can be broken without your consent. There are all sorts of downsides to you and to the person you're trying to leave the property to giving them ownership while you are still alive.

    What is it you are trying to accomplish?
     
    army judge likes this.
  10. CindiW

    CindiW Law Topic Starter Member

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    Yes. Thanks to all for consideration. I will call lawyer and explain to her soon. Because we did not discuss that property.
     
  11. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Depends on how title is held, whether only one or two of the owners die, how closely in time the joint owners die if two of them die, if/how the joint owners are related, the size of the estate(s) of the decedent(s), and what exactly "does it go to probate court" means (and probably a few other things).

    Your follow up post tells me that you need to consult with an estate planning attorney who can, among other things, review your condo association CC&Rs/bylaws.
     

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