(a) Subject to the limitations and requirements of this section, in addition to any other means by which a joint tenancy may be severed, a joint tenant may sever a joint tenancy in real property as to the joint tenant’s interest without the joinder or consent of the other joint tenants by any of the following means:
(1) Execution and delivery of a deed that conveys legal title to the joint tenant’s interest to a third person, whether or not pursuant to an agreement that requires the third person to reconvey legal title to the joint tenant.
(2) Execution of a written instrument that evidences the intent to sever the joint tenancy, including a deed that names the joint tenant as transferee, or of a written declaration that, as to the interest of the joint tenant, the joint tenancy is severed.
(b) Nothing in this section authorizes severance of a joint tenancy contrary to a written agreement of the joint tenants, but a severance contrary to a written agreement does not defeat the rights of a purchaser or encumbrancer for value in good faith and without knowledge of the written agreement.
(c) Severance of a joint tenancy of record by deed, written declaration, or other written instrument pursuant to subdivision (a) is not effective to terminate the right of survivorship of the other joint tenants as to the severing joint tenant’s interest unless one of the following requirements is satisfied:
(1) Before the death of the severing joint tenant, the deed, written declaration, or other written instrument effecting the severance is recorded in the county where the real property is located.
(2) The deed, written declaration, or other written instrument effecting the severance is executed and acknowledged before a notary public by the severing joint tenant not earlier than three days before the death of that joint tenant and is recorded in the county where the real property is located not later than seven days after the death of the severing joint tenant.
(d) Nothing in subdivision (c) limits the manner or effect of:
(1) A written instrument executed by all the joint tenants that severs the joint tenancy.
(2) A severance made by or pursuant to a written agreement of all the joint tenants.
(3) A deed from a joint tenant to another joint tenant.
(e) Subdivisions (a) and (b) apply to all joint tenancies in real property, whether the joint tenancy was created before, on, or after January 1, 1985, except that in the case of the death of a joint tenant before January 1, 1985, the validity of a severance under subdivisions (a) and (b) is determined by the law in effect at the time of death. Subdivisions (c) and (d) do not apply to or affect a severance made before January 1, 1986, of a joint tenancy.
(Amended by Stats. 1985, Ch. 157, Sec. 1.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018