What Does a Quitclaim Deed Mean With Survivorship?

Most spouses own property as joint tenants with right of survivorship.

A quitclaim deed with a right of survivorship is a legal deed that allows two people to co-own old real estate in such a manner that probate is not required to transfer title to the property after the death of one of the owners. Title passes automatically to the surviving owner upon the death of the co-owner.



A quitclaim deed is a legal title to a home. One of the primary purposes of owning property with right of survivorship is to avoid probate. Probate occurs when a person dies, and a state court judge orders distribution of that person's money and property according to a will; o,r if no will exists, according to standard state law. Title to any property owned with a right of survivorship, however, automatically transfers to the surviving owner without the need for the property to go through the probate process.


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The owners of property may receive title together under the same quitclaim deed. Additionally, one owner may convey title to herself and an additional co-owner under a quitclaim deed. For example, if Sarah owns property before her marriage and wants to share that property with her new husband Jeff, then Sarah can sign a quitclaim deed from herself to herself and Jeff as co-owners with the right of survivorship.



Under most state laws, a quitclaim deed must specifically state that it includes the right of survivorship, or else it is assumed that the deed does not include the right of survivorship. So, if a quitclaim deed identified two owners of property but does not state that the owners own with the right of survivorship, the owners do not have the right of survivorship. In that case, the owners are called" tenants in common." If one owner dies, that deceased owner's interest in the property passes under the probate process. The deceased will had to have identified an heir to his interest in the property. That heir may or may not be the co-owner of the property.


Joint Tenants

Property owners who own property with a right of survivorship are called either "joint tenants" or "tenants by the entirety." Any two owners can be joint tenants, but only married individuals can be tenants by the entirety. As a practical matter, there is little difference between a joint tenancy or a tenancy by the entirety.



Went two joint tenants own property and one of them dies, full title to the property automatically passes to the surviving owner. There is no need for the surviving owner to file any paperwork with a court or in the county land records. From the day one joint tenant dies, the surviving joint tenant automatically owns the entire property.



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