Clearing the Title on South Dakota Real Estate after a Joint Tenant Dies
In South Dakota, land owned by two or more people can be held as a tenancy in common, a partnership, or a joint tenancy (SDCL 43-2-11).
Joint tenancy, as defined at 43-2-12, is a property interest "owned by several persons in equal shares, by a title created by a single will or transfer, when expressly declared in the will or transfer to be a joint tenancy, or when granted or devised to personal representatives or trustees as joint tenants." South Dakota's joint tenancy includes the right of survivorship, meaning that if one of the co-owners dies, that person's share is distributed equally among the remaining owners. This distribution is identified as a nonprobate transfer under 29A-2-205(ii).
Nonprobate transfers are not included in the deceased owner's estate; instead, they cause the property to descend to the survivors as a function of law. Still, it makes sense, especially with real estate titles, to formalize and update the changed status. One way to accomplish this is by executing and recording an affidavit stating the relevant facts, attach a certified copy of the decedent's death certificate, and file it with the register of deeds for the county where the property is located.
Each circumstance is unique. Contact an attorney with specific questions or for complex situations.
Deeds.com South Dakota Affidavit of Deceased Joint Tenant Forms Have Been Updated as Recently as Monday January 15, 2018