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The phrase you need to know about is "tenants in common". According to my real estate book, each co-owner has a certain percentage of the property, typically 50% if there are 2 co-owners. But it isn't the case that one person owns the living room and the other the dining room: the ownership is commingled. When one co-owner dies or whatever, the percentage is conveyed to her heirs. The other co-owner's interest is unaffected.

As you can imagine, there are significant tax issues relevant to mortgage deductions and paying the property tax.

I'm not a lawyer or a CPA, and I don't even play one on TV, but that's where I'd start when asking questions of a lawyer who really does know something. If it costs you a couple of thousand dollars to get competent advice and have correct documents drawn up, it seems to me that is a modest price.
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