Deeds

Does anyone know how to tell if a “Warranty Deed: Survivorship” has rights of survivorship. Our deed says do give bargain sell unto the said (both of our names) and unto the survivor of them and unto such survivor’s heirs. I found this wording to be very ambiguous.

However, it doesn’t state the type of relationship between us such as tenants in common, tenants in the entirety, etc. I just states our names. So even though this is a survivorship deed I am not sure if it gives me the right of survivorship. Do you think I should make an appointment with an attorney to see it in case it needs to go through probate.

Maybe these will help.

You may just want to list your questions and meet with a local attorney, as these types of things are dependent on state law.

Thank you! That is what I plan to do.

It turns out that our deed gave me survivorship rights so I now own the house. However there will be a cloud on the title until my husbands name comes off it which will prevent me from selling it and that can’t be done unless I go through a mini probate. Since people get survivorship deeds so they won’t have to go through probate that didn’t make sense so I asked a few other local attorneys. They all told me that everyone who owns a house in Connecticut has to go through probate. So now I have to hire an estate attorney for a mini probate which will include listing the value of all the assets that were in his name at the time of his death even though they didn’t go through probate.

Is there any other state besides Connecticut where a surviving spouse has to go through probate to have their deceased spouse’s name removed from the deed even though they had a deed that provides the right for the surviving spouse to own the property without going through probate.

Any state with tenants by the entirety (joint ownership of married couple) will allow a new deed to be recorded in only the surviving spouse’s name (and usually presentation of a death cert). If the deed is Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship (JTROS), the same can be done. Many surviving spouses never change the deed until they sell (or their heirs do).

Many of the early east coast states (NJ, NY, CT, MA, etc.) and community property states have different real estate and probate laws.

@jimtoo - I asked an attorney what is the benefit of having a survivorship deed in Connecticut if everyone who owns real estate has to do a mini probate before the deceased spouse’s name can be removed from the deed. He told me that having a right to survivorship deed insures the property will only be owned by me and makes it a mini probate instead of a full probate.

This process will include filing an estate tax return that lists every asset my husband had at the time of his death and its value at the time. Since the exemption is now twelve million dollars I had thought only people that had assets near or above that amount had to do this. However, I was wrong. Part of this mini probate process will also include putting a notice in the newspaper to notify any potential creditors.

So in the state of Connecticut, even if you have a survivorship deed and are either the beneficiary or were named transfer on death of every asset of your deceased spouse, you still have to do a mini probate. So now I will have to make an appointment with an estate attorney to do a probate that I wouldn’t have to do in any other state.

What he should have told you is that it is part of the state’s full employment laws for lawyers. The bar must have a good lobby. In many other states, you would have only needed a death cert to change the deed. As I recall, NY requires that one use an attorney in any residential real estate transaction. Another unneeded law.

What if they had a rev living trust and they both were trustees?

First, the home would have to be titled in the trust’s name. Then, it would depend on the trust document language to determine what happens when a co-trustee dies. If the trust document gave both co-trustees full authority to unilaterally act on behalf of the trust, then after the death of one the other should have full authority to transfer title. But, given the existing problem, CT trust law might require other actions.