03.01.22

What happens to a joint tenancy when one of the owners passes away?


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In the state of Oklahoma, if you own land in joint tenancy, you don't have to go to probate court. However, to record the transfer of ownership, there are some specific steps to be taken once the other owner passes away.

If you own an account jointly with “right of survivorship” with your spouse, and then you pass away, your spouse as the surviving co-owner would then automatically become the account’s sole owner. 

If one owner dies, the surviving owner takes all of the property, immediately upon the other owner’s death. No court action is necessary for the surviving owner to take the property. But again, specific steps must be taken to record the transfer of ownership.

Joint tenancy is an attractive option for people who are in the midst of their estate planning because the transfer, after death, can be accomplished easily and quickly.

Additional features of joint tenancy

More than two persons can own property together as joint tenants. If four people make up a joint tenancy, upon the death of any one of the owners the remaining three people take possession of the property. These three individuals will then co-own the property as joint tenants; when another owner dies, the remaining two will own the property, and so on.

Persons do not have to be related to be part of a joint tenancy.

If you have questions or concerns about the ownership of real property, please contact us. Kevin Miller has more than 35 years of experience as an estate planning atorney in Oklahoma City.