Home Ownership as Joint Tenants

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Home Ownership as Joint Tenants

When two or more people purchase property together, they become co-owners of the property. The rights and duties of such co-owners are determined by the type of co-ownership that arises after the sale of real property. Co-ownership may be specified in:

What Are the Different Forms of Co-Ownership?

Depending on the situation, one of the three main types of co-ownership may arise:

  1. Joint Tenancy
  2. Tenancy in Common
  3. Tenancy by the Entirety

Each of these "tenancies" or co-ownerships is associated with particular rights and duties. Each must be triggered by certain requirements. In case of ambiguity, courts usually favor the formation of tenancy in common.

How to Become a Joint Tenant?

A joint tenancy involves the co-ownership of real estate by two or more individuals with the clearly expressed right of survivorship. "Right of survivorship" means that after one of the owners dies, the co-owning tenant immediately gets the decedent’s interest in the property.

For example, a deed triggering joint tenancy may state, "To George and Jenny as joint tenants with the right of survivorship." If survivorship is not mentioned, many courts may assume that a tenancy in common was intended.

What Are the Legal Requirements for a Joint Tenancy?

In addition to the right of survivorship, a joint tenancy agreement must unite the so-called four "unities," or special characteristics:

Ending a Joint Tenancy

When any of the characteristics that triggered a joint tenancy are disturbed, joint tenancy terminates and becomes tenancy in common. There are several ways to end joint tenancy:

What Are the Benefits of the Joint Tenancy?

The following may be some benefits associated with a joint tenancy:

Seeking Legal Help

To understand joint tenancy and co-ownership issues, you should contract an experienced property attorney. The advice of a qualified attorney will ensure that you understand your rights and duties in a joint tenancy agreement.

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Last Modified: 08-24-2016 10:16 PM PDT

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