COA reverses joint tenancy interest ruling

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Janice and Burdette Ramer appeal the trial court’s special findings of fact and conclusions of law granting interlocutory judgment in favor of Betty Smith and ordering partition of the property in question. The Ramers raise three issues on appeal:

1) whether the trial court erred when it determined that the Ramers, as tenants by the entireties, and Betty each hold a one-half joint tenancy interest in the property;  2) whether the trial court erred when it refused to award the Ramers contribution for value added to the property;  and 3) whether the trial court erred when it determined that the property cannot be equitably divided.

Conclusion (slip op. at 12):  Deed 2 created a joint tenancy among Richard, Betty, Burdette, and Janice as individuals. Therefore, we reverse the trial court and hold that Betty, Burdette, and Janice each hold an undivided one-third share in the Property as joint tenants. However, we affirm the trial court’s judgment denying the Ramers contribution for value added to the Property. Finally, we remand the issue of the correct method of partitioning the property to the trial court for further findings in light of this opinion.

Key Analysis (slip op. at 9):  In addition, the phrase “with right of survivorship,” the placement of the names in a list implying equal treatment, and the omission of the phrase “husband and wife” from the grantee clause after having been used in the grantor clause all indicate intent to create a joint tenancy.

About Bose McKinney & Evans LLP

Bose McKinney & Evans LLP is a business law firm, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, serving both publicly held and privately held businesses, governmental entities and high-growth industries. Our clients include Fortune 100 companies, international manufacturers, national and regional financial institutions, agribusinesses, sports teams, university-incubated start-ups, media, utilities, cities and schools, to name a few. We strive to build strong relationships with our clients as key business advisors, to exceed expectations in the quality of our work, to be knowledgeable about our clients’ businesses and sectors, to be responsive to service needs and to continually seek to improve the delivery of client services. Our ultimate focus is on our clients.
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