The Moor You Know | Episode 2 – Joint Tenancy
What is a joint tenancy and why is it important?
Any time two or more people own title to property they have a “joint tenancy.” There are several different types of tenancies and each has different characteristics. Let’s start with a “tenancy in common.” This is the most basic form of joint tenancy. With a tenancy in common, there is no survivorship. Any tenant’s interest will pass to that tenant’s heirs or beneficiaries under their will. There is also no requirement that there is equal ownership. One party can own 25% and the other 75%. Another type of tenancy is a “joint tenancy with right of survivorship.” This tenancy has the survivorship feature. When one dies, the other tenant obtains title by operation of law and without probate. The final tenancy I’ll discuss is a “tenancy by the entireties.” This is a type of tenancy acknowledged in about half of the states including Florida but not including Alabama. This is a special type of tenancy reserved for married persons. When a couple takes title “as husband and wife” a tenancy by the entireties is presumed. It has survivorship much like a joint tenancy with right of survivorship. However, it also has special features. The tenancy cannot be severed during the marriage. Therefore, neither spouse can convey their interest without the other spouse also conveying. Also, the obligations of one spouse do not attach to property held in a tenancy by the entireties. What happens when the parties’ marriage is dissolved? The tenancy becomes a tenancy in common.
Thinking about owning property with someone else?
Thinking about owning property with someone else? Easy to say, things… can get complicated.
In just 2 minutes, I’ll break down joint tenancy and what it means when either of you passes away. Let’s quickly break down joint tenancy and what it means when either of you passes away.
Joint Tenancy = ownership of property by more than one person
Joint tenancy is when two or more people own a property. Before I break down the different types of tenancies, let’s talk about survivorship.
Survivorship = title transfers automatically upon death and is not subject to probate
Survivorship refers to when title transfers upon death. This happens automatically, so no additional administration through probate is needed. Not all joint tenancies include survivorship though, and that’s important to understand.
Tenancy in Common
- Tenancy can be divided in unequal shares
- Does not have survivorship
The most basic form of joint tenancy is a “tenancy in common.” A tenancy in common can be divided into UNEQUAL shares, which means it DOESN’T have survivorship.
Kind of like shares in a business, a “tenancy in common” allows individual tenants to SELL their shares or pass their shares to heirs or beneficiaries… through their will.
Joint Tenancy with a Right of Survivorship
- Property is divided equally
- Ownership transfers automatically to surviving member upon death
Another joint tenancy is a “joint tenancy WITH a right of survivorship.” All tenants own the property EQUALLY. When one tenant dies, their full title transfers AUTOMATICALLY to the surviving member.
Tenancy by the Entireties
- Ownership for married persons
- Has survivorship
- Prevents sale of property without other spouse’s consent
The last tenancy I’ll share is a “tenancy by the entireties.” This is a special type of tenancy reserved for married persons. It includes survivorship… and a special feature that prevents one spouse from selling the property WITHOUT the other’s consent. Not all states recognize this form of joint tenancy. Florida does. Alabama does not.
So, before you enter into a joint tenancy with someone, work with a real estate lawyer to pick the BEST option for YOU.
A GOOD lawyer can deliver a plan to protect YOUR homestead interests.