In a previous post we discussed the fact that a cotenant (joint tenant or tenant in common) has the right to borrow against whatever interest they own in real property and that any liens that they cause to be recorded against the property only attach to their share of the co-owned property. This makes sense, of course, given that the non-debtor cotenant should not be subject to a lien that they did not cause to be recorded against the property.
But, what happens when the cotenant who recorded the lien dies? The short answer is that the lien survives the cotenant’s death. (Dieden v. Schmidt 104 Cal. App 4th 645). This seems logical but can have an interesting effect in the event of a death of a joint tenant with right of survivorship. In a joint tenancy with a right of survivorship the surviving cotenant (the cotenant who outlives the other cotenant) receives the other cotenant’s share of the property upon their death. With a lien attached, however, the surviving cotenant would not receive the property free and clear. Instead, the surviving cotenant would inherit the lien. The end result is that upon the death of the cotenant the surviving property owner receives whatever interest the deceased cotenant would have had if they were still alive (their liened share of the property).
At Schorr Law, APC, our real estate attorneys have been litigating cotenancy issues for years and as a result have developed a highly advanced knowledge of real estate law and procedure. For help with your real estate matter, contact us today at email@example.com, www.schorr-law.com, 310-954-1877. We offer a free 30 minute consultation on cotenancy issues and shared ownership disputes.