In re Estate of Thomas, Supreme Court of Wyoming 199 P.3d 1090 (2009)

Grantors Mike and Dorothy Thomas filed a deed with the county clerk to transfer a parcel of real estate to John Thomas and Margaret Dickson, their only children, “as tenants by the entireties with right of survivorship and not as tenants in common.” They also filed a second deed with the county clerk, transferring another piece of property to John and Margaret. Years later, a dispute arose among John’s heirs and Margaret as to the form of ownership of the two properties. John’s heirs claimed both properties were owned as tenants in common; Margaret claimed they were owned as joint tenants. The district court held that the properties were owned as tenants in common, and Margaret appealed.
The court found that the grantors, acting without legal counsel, had attempted to create a tenancy by the entireties in John and Margaret, which was not legally possible, but the transfer stated “with right of survivorship, and not as tenants in common.” In this case, the intent was to not have the transfer be as tenants in common, so a joint tenancy was created in the first property. The second property grant made no such declaration and simply transferred ownership to John and Margaret; this transfer created a tenancy in common.

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