Matter of the Estate of Oldham
Trusts and Estates
Surrogate Margarita Lopez Torres
Decedent Oldham's executor, Hasan, moved for summary judgment dismissing objections and affirmative defenses interposed by Saunders to this turnover proceeding. Hasan alleged certain real property was allegedly withheld from Oldham's estate. Decedent resided at the subject property and title was held by Saunders and decedent under a deed. It was alleged decedent never divorced his spouse, but maintained a romantic relationship, and resided with Saunders at the property until his death, despite the relationship ending. Saunders executed various transfers of the property after decedent's death claiming she and decedent held the property as joint tenants with the right of survivorship. Hasan argued the property was held by Saunders and decedent as tenants in common, and Oldham's estate was entitled to his undivided interest. The court agreed noting absent express language of survivorship, a disposition of real property to two or more persons resulted in a tenancy in common, noting the deed did not delineate a designation. Also, the mere existence of a romantic relationship between unmarried persons did not overcome the presumption of a tenancy in common. It granted Hasan summary judgment to dismiss.