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Concluding that the trial court clearly erred in finding that a latent ambiguity existed in the deed and in reforming the deed, the court reversed the order granting the intervenor's petition to reform the deed & remanded for entry of summary disposi

A residence was conveyed to the decedent, Lyle F. Steiner, and the intervenor, Steven M. Steiner (Lyle's son). Years later, when Lyle passed away, Steven was appointed PR of Lyle's estate. "DHHS filed a claim against the estate for unpaid Medicaid bills in the amount of $48,084.95." Steven filed a petition to reform the deed to indicate a joint tenancy with a right of survivorship, arguing that "Lyle intended a joint tenancy so that the property would transfer to Steven without the need for probate proceedings." The trial court found that the deed created a tenancy in common, but that a latent ambiguity existed. On the basis of the latent ambiguity, it reformed the deed to comport with Lyle's intent to own the property with Steven as joint tenants, which included a right of survivorship. The court concluded that the trial court properly found that "the deed's granting clause created a tenancy in common." The deed specifically stated that the property was conveyed to "LYLE F. STEINER, A SINGLE MAN AND STEVEN M. STEINER, A SINGLE MAN." It did "not expressly declare that the property would create a joint tenancy with a right of survivorship," thus the court construed it to create a tenancy in common. Steven produced "extrinsic evidence to support his argument that the deed is ambiguous, specifically by his affidavit indicating that Lyle intended to create a joint tenancy with a right of survivorship so that the property would pass outside the probate estate. However, a latent ambiguity does not exist in this deed as the fact that Lyle intended to create a joint tenancy does not support an argument that the deed language at issue is susceptible to more than one interpretation." The language conveying the property suggested "a single meaning-that a tenancy in common was created."

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