Harms v. Sprague

105 Ill. 2d 215, 85 Ill. Dec. 331, 473 N.E.2d 930 (1984)



A surviving joint tenant succeeds to the share of the deceased joint tenant by virtue of the conveyance which created the joint tenancy, not as the successor of the deceased.


A man owned property with his brother in joint tenancy. During his lifetime, his brother mortgaged his interest in the property. Upon his brother's death, the man brought an action against the mortgagees and the executor of his brother’s will to quiet title. The trial court ruled in favor of the mortgagees and the executor. On appeal, this was reversed by the appellate court. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court of Illinois.


Should the action to quiet title approved favor of the living brother?




The court ruled that the joint tenancy was not severed when plaintiff's brother mortgaged his interest, because a mortgage is only a lien and does not destroy the unity of title. Further, the court held that the mortgage did not survive the brother's death, because the lien, along with his interest, extinguished upon his death.

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