by Phoenix attorney Christopher A. Combs, partner with Combs Law Group, P.C.
Question: Twenty-one years ago I purchased a home in north Phoenix with my parents as joint tenants with right of survivorship. My parents paid the $15,000 down payment, but I have made all of the mortgage, insurance, and property tax payments since the purchase of this home. Both of my parents have now passed away, with my dad passing away last October. My two brothers are now saying that I have to pay them two-third’s of the current value of the home which is $800,000. I think that this demand by my brothers is very unfair because I do not have that amount of money. My understanding was that, if the home was owned as joint tenants with right of survivorship, the surviving joint tenant which is me would now be the sole owner of the home. Is that correct?
Answer: Yes. I am not sure if your two brothers are claiming this two-third’s interest under a will or trust, but in any event, the holding of title with joint tenants with right of survivorship will control, namely, you should now be the 100% owner of the home after the death of both of your parents.