You may think the answer is obvious. But the correct answer is “It depends.” It depends on the year purchased. If the co-op apartment was purchased by a married couple before 1986, the law MAY treat the property as personal.
Subsequent to 1996 the law was revised to treat co-ops as real property with respect to co-op apartments.
This means that prior to 1996, there was no presumption that a co-op purchased by married couples was jointly held as tenants-by-the-entirety. If the stock and lease does not specifically state that the property is being held as joint tenants with the right of survivorship, it is deem to be separate property, just like any other personal property.
How does this become an estate issue?
If the co-op was acquired before 1996, and the stock was not subsequently reissued to the married couple, the decadents interest in the property does not automatically transfer to the surviving spouse. If it was the parties intention to convey the decedent’s share of the co-op to the surviving spouse, this must be:
(1) stated in the Will,
(2) change the stock certificate
to read: Joint tenants with the right of survivorship.
For your protection and to avoid surprises give me a call at 212 693-3737 or call your estate planner.