+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    pinto375 is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    16

    Joint Tenants with the Right of Survivorship

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? PA

    My mother and sister have an Indenture re: the family home as joint tenants with the right of survivorship and "not as tenants in common". My mother is listed as the "Grantor" and sister listed as the "Grantee". My mother is the only one who has been living in the home and has full title to the property. My sister recently passed away but is leaving behind some credit card debt. My question is about potential liens or judgements and the property. If unsettled, will my sisters credit card debt be attached to the property? Are there any other types debt that my sister may have that I should be concerned about being attached to the property? Thank you.
  2. #2
    anteater is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    6,036
    My mother and sister have an Indenture re: the family home as joint tenants with the right of survivorship and "not as tenants in common". My mother is listed as the "Grantor" and sister listed as the "Grantee". My mother is the only one who has been living in the home and has full title to the property.
    This is confusing. What do you mean by an "indenture?" What do you mean by "full title to the property?" Can you clarify?

    I am going to suggest that you contact a PA probate attorney. If your mother and sister did indeed own the property as joint tenants, the possible ability of creditors to "reach" the sister's interest is a complex legal area. I know that creditors can potentially reach jointly-owned personal property. I am less certain about real property.

    The other problem is that, once again if your mother and sister did indeed own the property as joint tenants (and your sister was older than 21), PA Inheritance Tax would be owed on the value of the transfer of sister's interest in the property to Mother. Yes, I know that sucks. But PA takes joint ownership seriously when it comes to the inheritance tax. It is one of the seldom-considered drawbacks to using joint tenancy as a quick and dirty substitute for a will/probate.
  3. #3
    pinto375 is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    16
    Mother and sister had an agreement titled Indenture whereby my sister would get the house for $1.00 if my mother died. My mother owns the house and it is not jointly owned. My sister would get the house if her mother died but my sister does not own anything. The clause states - joint tenants with the right of survivorship and "not as tenants in common".
  4. #4
    anteater is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    6,036
    Well, that's pretty bizarre. Whose idea was this "indenture?" Is this thing filed anywhere?

    In any event, if your mother legally owns the property solely, then your sister's death has no effect on the property.
    Last edited by anteater; 12-22-2011 at 11:58 AM.
  5. #5
    FlyingRon is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    16,706
    Quote Originally Posted by pinto375 View Post
    Mother and sister had an agreement titled Indenture whereby my sister would get the house for $1.00 if my mother died. My mother owns the house and it is not jointly owned. My sister would get the house if her mother died but my sister does not own anything. The clause states - joint tenants with the right of survivorship and "not as tenants in common".
    What clause are we talking about? You're not making sense. I would recommend you take all the paper to a lawyer since we can't make heads or tails. If the contract is for a sale at Mom's death, why would it mention any form of co-tenancy (joint or otherwise). Further, depending on just how this grant was made, it may be worthless at the time of death. Further, such transfers are going to be subservient to more senior claims such as from a prior mortgage or medicaid obligation.

    Transferring the house for $1 won't do anything by the way. Absent FMV they will consider this a gift.
  6. #6
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    in the ether
    Posts
    34,610
    Quote Originally Posted by pinto375 View Post
    Mother and sister had an agreement titled Indenture whereby my sister would get the house for $1.00 if my mother died. My mother owns the house and it is not jointly owned. My sister would get the house if her mother died but my sister does not own anything. The clause states - joint tenants with the right of survivorship and "not as tenants in common".
    you need to make up your mind. Either they are joint tenants (which is impossible based upon a previous statement) or there is a mechanism in place that would transfer the title to sister at mothers death. You can't have both.



    the prior statement that precludes the possibility this is a joint tenancy would be this:

    My mother is listed as the "Grantor" and sister listed as the "Grantee".
    for their to be a co-ownership of any sort, both mother and sister would have to be listed as grantees. Beyond that, and I would have to check the current status of PA law but typically one cannot create a joint tenancy in the manner described as it frustrates one of the requirements of the 4 unities that must be present to create a joint tenancy. I haven't checked since the listing of the grantees on the deed makes it irrelevant.

    So, if there is a mechanism in place that would transfer title to sister at mothers death, just what is it? You are suggesting a sale upon death being mandated by this "indenture". If a sale is directed, the estate is not free and clear from claims against mothers estate but must be first held as an asset to be divested as probate directs.

    Since sister died first, if there is a deed in place that transferred title to sister, then mom does not own the property but sister does (as a single entity since the listing of the grantees as you have). That means the property is available to sisters creditors for claims. If mom is availing of the benefits of medicare, there may be a problem with the selling of the home for $1 though. Medicare would have essentially been cheated out of their security. The problem; they don't get cheated. They get to rescind the sale.
    Last edited by justalayman; 01-14-2012 at 10:18 AM.
  7. #7
    anteater is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    6,036
    A little late to this one, aren't ya', JAL?

    But I really wish that the OP had posted back after running this by an attorney that could look at the actual documents.

Similar Threads

  1. joint tenants w right of survivorship
    By lghibbs in forum Other Real Estate Law Questions
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 09-16-2011, 04:09 PM
  2. Joint tenants with rights of survivorship
    By Sight Seer in forum Other Real Estate Law Questions
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 03-19-2008, 03:29 PM
  3. Can someone break down: Joint tenants with right of Survivorship?
    By tracy e robles in forum Other Real Estate Law Questions
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05-26-2005, 06:55 PM
  4. Joint tenants with right of survivorship
    By Reydiaz99 in forum Other Real Estate Law Questions
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 04-19-2001, 02:01 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

© 1995-2012 Advice Company, All Rights Reserved

FreeAdvice® has been providing millions of consumers with outstanding advice, free, since 1995. While not a substitute for personal advice from a licensed professional, it is available AS IS, subject to our Disclaimer and Terms & Conditions Of Use.