Who Inherits Property Owned as Tenants in Common?

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If your loved one has died and you and your loved one owned property as tenants in common, then you'll need to understand who will inherit the deceased owner's portion of the property.

What Happens if the Tenant in Common Property Was Titled in the Decedent's Sole Name?

If the decedent's portion of the tenant in common property was titled in the decedent's sole name, then his or her portion of the property will pass through the decedent's probate estate in one of two ways:

  1. To the decedent's beneficiaries named in his or her Last Will and Testament - If the decedent had a valid Last Will and Testament, then his or her portion of the tenant in common property will pass to the beneficiaries named in the Last Will and Testament.
  2. To the decedent's heirs at law - If the decedent failed to make a valid Last Will and Testament, then his or her portion of the tenant in common property will pass under the laws of intestacy to the decedent's heirs at law. But which state law will govern? If the tenant in common property isn't real estate, then the intestacy laws of the state where the decedent lived at the time of death will govern. On the other hand, if the tenant in common property is real estate, then the intestacy laws of the state where the real estate is located will govern even if these laws are different from the laws of the state where the decedent lived.

What Happens if the the Tenant in Common Property Was Titled in the Decedent's Revocable Living Trust?

If the decedent's portion of the tenant in common property was titled in the name of his or her Revocable Living Trust, then the decedent's portion of the property will pass outside of probate and directly to the beneficiaries named in the Revocable Living Trust.
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