Understanding Joint Tenancy vs. Tenancy in Common: Key Considerations in Property Ownership

A small wood piece that says FAQ between two puzzle pieces

Understanding the differences between joint tenancy and tenancy in common is critical when owning property with someone else. These two types of ownership have unique rights and implications, particularly in situations like estate planning.

Joint Tenancy vs. Tenancy in Common: What’s the Difference?

Imagine a scenario where two individuals co-own a property, each holding a 50% share. The type of ownership, whether joint tenancy or tenancy in common, significantly impacts their rights and the disposition of the property in various situations.

Joint Tenancy:

In a joint tenancy arrangement, neither party can sell their 50% share independently. Both owners must agree to sell the property, ensuring joint control over its fate. Additionally, joint tenancy includes the right of survivorship. This means that if one owner passes away, their share automatically transfers to the surviving owner, bypassing the deceased’s estate.

Tenancy in Common:

In contrast, in a tenancy in common, each owner has the right to sell their share independently without requiring consent from the other owner(s). Furthermore, there’s no right of survivorship in tenancy in common. If one owner dies, their share becomes part of their estate and is distributed according to their will or intestacy laws.

Undefined Ownership: Defaulting to Tenancy in Common

In cases where the title doesn’t specify the type of ownership, common law typically deems it as tenancy in common. This default rule underscores the importance of clarifying ownership arrangements upfront to avoid unintended consequences, especially in estate planning.

Complexities in Property Ownership

Another consideration is the complexity that arises when multiple assets are involved. For example, if you have both a business property and a personal property on the same legal property it is likely not clear how the beneficial ownership of that property is to be split or who legally owns which portion.

In such cases, you would need to determine if one of the parties was holding the property as a trustee for the other party, which likely could be the case.

Estate and Financial Planning Support by KWB Accountants & Advisors

At KWB, we can offer you peace of mind when navigating the complexities of land titles and other financial matters. With our expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to your satisfaction, we can help ensure that your property ownership structure aligns with your goals and objectives. Book an introductory meeting here to learn more.

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