How to address properties with Survivorship title?

13 Replies

Hi, I'm coming across properties in county records with this listed as the owner: "John and Judy Smith Surv."

What would be the correct way to address these yellow letters?  Should I say "Dear Estate Manager", or keep it generic with a "Sir/Madam"?

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

That seems an odd way to list title. It would be best to pull a copy of the deed itself. Could be that it's listed similarly to Joint Tenancy wherein if one of the title holders dies, their interest in the property automatically reverts to the surviving joint tenant. But without seeing exactly the way the deed is worded it's hard to tell.

@Brian Huber  Are these probate leads? If so, I just address my letters to whoever is listed as the PR. If there's two people, I address it to both (e.g. "Dear John and Judy"). IMHO a more personal greeting warrants a more warmer reception.

Of course, if you're not talking about probate leads then ignore everything I just said haha

Originally posted by @Jim Viens :

That seems an odd way to list title. It would be best to pull a copy of the deed itself. Could be that it's listed similarly to Joint Tenancy wherein if one of the title holders dies, their interest in the property automatically reverts to the surviving joint tenant. But without seeing exactly the way the deed is worded it's hard to tell.

 We are in "violent agreement" on this.

Hello, no they're not probate leads.  They're leads from driving for dollars. When I asked the county employee, she said, "Surv means the property is owned with rights of survivorship."  A pretty vague response, so I'm not sure how to address these folks...

How about just use their names?

@Brian Huber  that would indicate more strongly to me that it is a Joint Tenancy as mentioned above. But, again, it would be best to see the actual deed. There could easily have been an incorrect transfer of information from the land records to the tax records.

@Wayne Brooks  

I don't want to address to someone who may be deceased. I think that would create a poor first impression.

The "surv" doesn't indicate a death, it's simply the form of title the property is held in.

Gotcha, here something I found:

"The right of survivorship is an attribute of several types of joint ownership of property, most notably joint tenancy and tenancy in common. When jointly owned property includes a right of survivorship, the surviving owner automatically absorbs a dying owner's share of the property. Thus if A and B jointly own a house with a right of survivorship, and B dies, A becomes the sole owner of the house, despite any contrary intent in B's will."

So perhaps a spouse passed away and the surviving spouse gains complete ownership of the property...

Right of Survivorship

The power of the successor or successors of a deceased individual to acquire the property of that individual uponhis or her death; a distinguishing feature of Joint tenancy.

sorry, looks like @Brian Huber  and I posted at the same time. His is better. 

I agree with @Jim Viens  - I will add that you can search for obituaries or death records if you are concerned that you will be addressing somebody who is deceased. 

Talk to a RE Broker or a title agent in your area and ask them to clarify what that designation means. We don't use that kind of designation in the name in AZ but it does sound like Joint Tenancy w/Right of Survivorship which in no way indicates that anyone has died it's simply a way of holding title.