There is a presumption that a conveyance or devise to two or more persons, not husband or wife or trustees, carries with it no right of survivorship unless clearly expressed. Unless the terms of the agreement expressly or by necessary implication call for a joint tenancy a tenancy in common will be presumed. It has also been said that when property, real or personal, is placed in the names of husband and wife without more, a tenancy by entireties is presumed to have been created, and in order to rebut that presumption there must be clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.
Property was conveyed to appellant individual and to decedent husband and wife. Appellee claimant, son of the deceased wife, sought a declaratory judgment that the property had been granted to the three grantees as individual tenants in common, so that when his mother died, he inherited one-sixth of the property, as part of his half of her estate. Appellants, grantee and beneficiary of decedent husband's estate, who was decedent husband's brother, and sole beneficiary of his estate, claimed that the husband and wife had received only one-half of the property, held as tenants by the entireties, and that upon the wife's death, her interest was absorbed into the husband's. The trial court granted declaratory judgment in favor of appellee.
Did the trial court err in granting declaratory judgment to appellee?
The court held that the language of the conveyance clearly expressed its intention to grant the property to the individual, and to the couple, as tenants in common, and that the couple held their share as tenants by the entireties, so there was nothing to pass to appellee upon the wife's death.