Who is the ownerof co-owned real estate if one of the owners passes away?

UPDATED: Sep 4, 2011

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Who is the ownerof co-owned real estate if one of the owners passes away?

If my boyfriend and I purchased real estate together 10 years ago and he passed away 8 years ago, can I sell the property if his next of kin never put his assets in probate?

Asked on September 4, 2011 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You first need to evaluate how legal title to the co-owned real estate with your deceased boyfriend is held. If it is held as "joint tenants with the right of survivorship" then you as a matter of law are its owner since your survived your boyfriend. If this is the case, you need to sign an affidavit of surviving joint tenant before a notary public stating that you are the surviving joint tenant and attach a certified copy of your deceased boyfriend's death certificate to this affidavit.

You then record this affidavit in the county recorder's office where this poperty is located. It will allow transfer of legal title all to you.

If the title to the real estate is not held in joint tenancy, you will need to have the estate of your deceased boyfriend probated if there is a will and administered if there is no will so as to clear title to the property you have inquired about. You cannot sell the property with good title if the property was not held in joint tenancy.

You should consult a real estate attorney regarding your situation.

Good luck.

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