What is the right of survivorship?


Quick Answer

The right of survivorship is a legal concept whereby a person takes ownership of another person’s property upon his death, according to Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute. The survivor assumes the right to the property automatically with no need for a potentially lengthy probate process.

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Full Answer

The right of survivorship generally applies to assets or property held in joint tenancy, tenancy by the entirety, or community property and includes assets, such as real estate, bank accounts, securities, vehicles, and bonds or other investments, explains Nolo. Property subject to a right of survivorship is not subject to distribution under a decedent's will. Because it is not part of his estate, it can be transferred to a survivor without going through probate. Nevertheless, property transferred under a right of survivorship often requires clear title to pass, and the survivor may need to take additional steps to ensure clear title.

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