Real Estate Deeds

Kentucky Affidavit of Surviving Joint Tenant

Real property ownership and conveyance is governed by Title XXII of the Kentucky Revised Statutes.

Kentucky's standard version of joint tenancy resembles tenancy in common, in that "when a joint tenant dies, the joint tenant's part of the joint estate, real or personal, shall descend to the joint tenant's heirs, or pass by devise, or go to the joint tenant's personal representative, subject to debts, curtesy, dower, or distribution" (KRS 318.120). Basically, this means that each joint tenant owns an individual share of the whole property.

Section 318.130 provides the rules for survivorship tenancy, in which the joint tenants share undivided rights to the whole property. By stating the intent to vest ownership as joint tenants with right of survivorship, when one owner dies, that portion is distributed equally among the survivors. Joint tenancy with right of survivorship is common between spouses.

In order to formalize the "automatic" transfer that occurs from a deceased joint tenant, many co-owners choose to record an affidavit of surviving joint tenant, accompanied by a certified copy of the decedent's death certificate. Recording such an affidavit provides notice to the public and any future purchasers about the updated information. It also maintains a clear chain of title (ownership history), which should reduce some of the complexity from future sales or conveyances of the real property.

Even though executing and recording an affidavit of surviving joint tenant clears the title, the deceased owner's name remains on the deed. The only way to remove that name is by executing and recording a new deed, preferably including a copy of the recorded affidavit. Kentucky Affidavit of Surviving Joint Tenant Forms Have Been Updated as Recently as Monday April 16, 2018