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Survivor inherits jointly owned property

Jointly owned assets, such as a house, automatically

Jointly owned assets, such as a house, automatically pass to their surviving owner. Photo Credit: iStock

I'm 68 years old. Since 1997, I've lived with a man who's now terminally ill. In 2000, we purchased a house which we own jointly. I'm the beneficiary of his pension when he dies. I also have my own savings and checking accounts with my children's names on them as well as mine. His daughters have persuaded him to get a new will saying they'll receive half the house. They've also tried, unsuccessfully, to use his power of attorney to get themselves named his pension beneficiaries. I always told them if their dad died, I'd sell the house and share the proceeds with them, and I feel deeply hurt that they went behind my back to have this new will made. Can they come after my assets and bank accounts if he dies? Will I immediately have to sell the house and give them half the amount after the mortgage is paid off? I'm so scared they'll take away all I've saved.

Your savings are safe, no matter what the new will says.

Your partner's children can't claim any account that's in your sole name or that you co-own with your children. Nor can they inherit their father's share of any financial account or asset that you and he own jointly with right of survivorship.

Jointly owned assets aren't governed by either owner's will. They automatically become the sole property of the surviving owner. If you owned the house as tenants in common, he could leave his half to anyone he chooses. But since you own the house jointly, you'll become its sole owner when he dies. If you sell it, you don't have to share the proceeds with anyone.

THE BOTTOM LINE Jointly owned assets automatically pass to their surviving owner.


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