Deeds Explained: Severing a Joint Tenancy in Los Angeles

Deeds Explained: Severing a Joint Tenancy in Los Angeles

Our customers ask us many questions when dealing with quitclaim deed services. A while back two gentlemen came over with an unusual situation. They owned a property in Los Angeles with a third person who had moved abroad, and with whom they had lost all contacts. One of the gentlemen had just executed his living trust with us, and wanted to transfer his share of the Los Angeles property to his heirs through his trust. How to do that, since the three current owners were joint tenants and their signatures are required to transfer any part of the property?

They consulted with an attorney, and they found out that actually whenever one co-owner demonstrates the intent to sever a joint tenancy, the joint tenancy is severed, and it becomes a tenancy-in-common. In other words, contrary to common belief, there is no need to have anyone else sign. The best way to do it would be to have them sign one deed, announcing their intent to sever the joint tenancy, and then another deed transferring the 1/3 in question to the trust. That is how it would be properly done. It might be fine to just transfer directly to the trust, but the two-step approach is technically correct and recommended.

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. We serve Woodland Hills, Encino, The San Fernando Valley, 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.