Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in California

Regarding "Tenants in Common" ownership of intangible personal property such as a lottery ticket; "Tenants in Common" ownership allows for equal right of possession.

How can this be accomplished if two or more owners want possession at the same time? Let's then assume a safe deposit box or similar neutral storage with common access... what is to keep one individual from taking the ticket for 100% possession? Is their a legal remedy?

Asked on 11/16/11, 2:41 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Libris Solutions - Dispute Resolution Services

A lottery ticket is tangible property. It is tangible property that carries with it intangible rights, but it is tangible nonetheless. Intangible property by definition cannot physically be possessed. To answer your question, however, your hypothetical is really no different than if, say, tenants in common owned a timeshare and both wanted to use it at the same time. If they cannot agree, or if one of them usurps the property, the other person's remedy is for a partition of the property. That is most commonly done by the court ordering the property sold and the proceeds distributed, although in a proper case other solutions may be appropriate to divide the property. When faced with that prospect, most TICs either start to work things out, or at least agree on a partition method rather than let the court decide.

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Answered on 11/16/11, 3:05 pm

Michael Stone Law Offices of Michael B. Stone Toll Free 1-855-USE-MIKE

I assume you are daydreaming and you didn't really win the lottery. Ordinarily one person signs the ticket, and the two or more co-tenants should have a written contract drafted by a lawyer. The lottery officials also have resources in this regard. Very often situations like this lead to lawsuits.

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Answered on 11/16/11, 3:07 pm
Daniel Bakondi The Law Office of Daniel Bakondi

You dont want to go down the road of discussing ownership of the ticket in TIC.

Give it to an attorney hired by both of you in trust, to handle, and distribute the proceeds. The attorney cannot prefer either client over the other, and will do it in a way mutually agreeable. let me know if you are serious.


Daniel Bakondi, Esq.

[email protected]


The Law Office of Daniel Bakondi, APLC

870 Market Street, Suite 1161

San Francisco CA 94102

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Answered on 11/16/11, 3:17 pm

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