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When seeking probate services in Woodland Hills or anywhere it is important to know the difference between a spousal petition and joint tenancy.
More than a year ago a customer came to us with a real estate property held by husband and wife, without any other denomination. The husband had passed away. In theory, this qualifies as a spousal petition. Joint tenancy is not assumed, it has to be specifically stated; otherwise it’s treated as a tenancy in common. The difference is not minor. When a joint tenant passes away, by filing an affidavit of death, the other joint tenant becomes the sole owner, without any need to go to court. With community property or no denomination, in case the owners are husband and wife, the surviving spouse will have to start a spousal petition, which in a nutshell is a simplified probate.
The customer was adamant that she didn’t want to go through the costs and time associated with that process. She called the Los Angeles County Recorder and the clerk over the phone told her to simply file an affidavit. We did, and to this day she hasn’t received any rejection letters.
Since then we quitclaimed her title to her new single living trust. At this point we are pretty sure she got away with it. It’s hard to imagine that someone in the future will check the history of the property and reject two transfers of properties.
If you have any other questions about the difference between a Spousal Petition and Joint Tenancy, or our probate services, please feel free to ask us.
The Document People is a network of independently owned stores that share a common purpose: helping customers represent themselves. We are looking forward to drafting your Living Trust and estate planning documents as well as probate services. We serve Woodland Hills, Santa Monica, The San Fernando Valley, Torrance, Orange County and San Diego County.
The information contained in this blog – including information of a legal nature – is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.