Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Ohio

Recently my dad passed away. My dads name along with my moms name is on the deed of the house. Recently we were told because it does not have the words "survivorship" anywhere on the deed that in order for my mom to have my dads name removed and someone else added in case she died that she would have to go through probate court. I don't understand why since it is in both my mom and dads name. Couldn't she just add someone else's name anyway and if she passed away it would just go to the person on the deed that is now alive. I checked my deed and it just has my husbands name and my name no "survivorship" word anywhere. Then I got curious so I started calling people I know and so far at talking to 9 people, not one person I've talked to says that their deed says "survivorship" anywhere. What gives?

Asked on 10/01/09, 5:26 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Elizabeth Schmitz Elizabeth S. Schmitz Attorney at Law
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In Ohio a deed must have the language joint with right of survivorship in order for the property to pass directly to the surviving owner. If the deed does not have that language it is considered that the persons owning the property each own a part of the property and upon a person's death the property passes according to the deceased person's will or if no will by the Ohio statute. A probate proceeding will be necessary and I would suggest that you do it now and then possibily at your mother's death if she retitles the property she can avoid probate.

Depending on when your parents purchased the property they could have what is called a tenants by the entirety deed which was allowed between husbands and wives for a short period of time in Ohio.

In your state the law may be different. Every state has different laws with regard to the titling of real estate.

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Answered on 10/01/09, 5:38 pm

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