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by: Shaina Case

There are three primary ways that two or more people can own real estate together, which are:

  • tenancy by the entireties/husband and wife (a special designation for married persons who own property equally with a survivorship right for the surviving spouse);
  • joint tenancy with right of survivorship (a designation for non-married persons who own property together with a survivorship right); and
  • tenancy in common (each owner holds an individual, undivided interest, which may or may not be equal, without a survivorship right.  Each person can pass his or her undivided interest to their beneficiaries, heirs, etc.).

In Wyoming, if you hold real property as tenancy by the entireties or as joint tenancy with right of survivorship, then when one owner dies, that owner’s interest automatically passes to the surviving owner(s).  A tool called an “Affidavit of Survivorship” or “Affidavit of Estate by the Entireties” is typically recorded in the real estate records, along with a certified copy of the deceased owner’s death certificate, to put third parties on notice of the transfer to the surviving owner(s).

Not all property should be, or needs to be, titled with a right of survivorship, so please consult an attorney if you have questions as to how your real property should be titled. However, ownership as an estate by the entireties or with the right of survivorship may offer certain benefits, such as avoiding going through the time and expense of probate and creditor protection for spouses (for husband and wife ownership only).