Dolgetta Law

Appeals Court Affirms Rights of Surviving Joint Tenant

On November 15, 2011, the case of Trotta v. Ollivier was decided by the New York State Appellate Division, Second Department. This important case affirms the right of a joint tenant to inherit (by operation of law) a property held in a joint tenancy without the potential for a claim for equal contributions to the property by the Estate of the deceased joint owner.


On November 17, 1992, Susan Leone and Charles Ollivier purchased property as joint tenants with the right of survivorship. The property was located in Effort, Pennsylvania. Mr. Ollivier and Ms. Leone lived together as an unmarried couple for a period of time after the property was purchased. Susan Leone used $90,000.00 of her own funds to purchase the property and incurred expenses relating to a construction loan and other closing costs. Over the period of time she owned the property, up to her death, she expended $226,500.00 from her own funds in connection with the property. Ollivier allegedly did not contribute any funds to the purchase of the property or the carrying costs. In any event, there was no evidence that Mr. Ollivier contributed anything comparable to what Ms. Leone paid out.

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