Attorney Thomas B. Burton answers the following question:
"If Two People Have a Quitclaim Deed with Joint Tenancy, Can One of the Two Sever That Contract On His Own?"
Want to know what type of estate planning documents are best for your situation? Download a free copy of my easy estate planning guide.
Obtain Your Free Will vs. Trust Estate Planning Guide here
Today's question comes from Sheboygan, Wisconsin and the reader asks the following:
In Wisconsin, if two people have a quit claim deed with joint tenancy, can one of the two sever that contract on his own?
Two brothers have a joint tenancy and a quitclaim deed, can one brother sever that contract on his own by turning his portion over to a third party or is that not possible because of the right of survivorship?
So to answer this question, we're going to go over a little black letter law here. And in order for a joint tenancy to exist that has to be what the law calls four conditions or unities must be met.
One, all tenants must acquire the property at the same time. So if you and your brother received at the same time via the deed, that would satisfy.
All tenants have an equal interest in the property which again it sounds like it's just you and your brother and you share.
All tenants acquire title by the same deed or will, so in this case, you said it was by quitclaim deed and fourth all tenants have an equal right to possession.
So in order to destroy a joint tenancy, one of the four unities must be destroyed. So you could do this by conveying your interest in the property to a third person by either gift or by sale. So your questions at turning it over to a third party and that to me sounds like a gift which you could do by quitclaim deed. Upon termination of the joint tenancy, a tenancy in common is formed between the third person and the remaining co-tenant.
Great question on a topic of Black Letter Law here and thank you for asking.
© 2020 Burton Law LLC. All Rights Reserved. Transcript and captions provided for ease of access for the hearing impaired. For questions about this topic, or to suggest a topic for a future blog post, please contact the office.