Real Property Practice Question 1

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Real Property: Ownership

A father conveyed Greenacre to his two children, a son and a daughter, as joint tenants. The daughter built a duplex on the land. She lived on one side of the house while she rented out the other. The son lived out of state and rarely visited Greenacre. The son, struggling for money, sold his interest in Greenacre to a friend. The friend immediately hired an architect and created a blueprint for a new house on the land. Shortly after the conveyance, the son was killed in a car accident. The friend is now petitioning the court for a judicial partition of Greenacre. The daughter argues that upon the son’s death, she became the sole owner of Greenacre.

How should the judge rule?

A: For the friend, because he intends to occupy the land.

B: For the friend, because he purchased the son’s interest.

C: For the daughter, because she has the right of survivorship.

D: For the daughter, because she has exclusive possession of the land.

Answer and Explanation

B is correct. The son and daughter originally held the estate in joint tenancy with the right of survivorship, meaning when one joint tenant dies, the survivor immediately retains an undivided interest in the land. However, when the son sold his interest in Greenacre to the friend, the conveyance severed the joint tenancy and the right of survivorship. The daughter and the friend are now tenants in common.

A is incorrect. The friend’s intent is irrelevant.

C is incorrect. The conveyance severed the daughter’s right of survivorship.

D is incorrect. Despite that fact that the daughter lives on the land, she is not sole owner of the land. The friend is now a tenant in common and has the right to petition for judicial partition.

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