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j0309202.jpgPrior to his death, Gabrielle Lequerique's father transferred property to himself and his wife Stella -- Gabrielle's mother -- as tenants-in-the-entirety.

While dad also had a Will which left his entire estate to his wife, in 2004, he transferred ownership of the property to a limited liability company, wherein each spouse held a 50% interest. He later changed the Will and left the minimum statutory share to Stella and gifted the remaining 80% of his estate to his daughter.

When Gabrielle later filed suit and asked the court to declare the LLC the property's owner, the New York County Supreme Court dismissed her case, and an appeal to the Appellate Division, First Department, followed.

When there is a tenancy-by-the-entirety, the surviving spouse gets ownership of the property upon the other's death and (absent consent) that interest can't be extinguished by a transfer.

Because the deed conveying the property wasn't signed by both spouses, the AD1 concluded that the transfer of title to the LLC was ineffective. (There was no evidence Stella ever relinquished her rights.)

That lady's a true survivor.

j0284065.gifTo view a copy of the Appellate Division's decision, please use this link: Lequerique v. Lequerique