Jul 7

Two Types Of Co-Ownership

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There are two ways of co-owning property – JOINT TENANTS AND TENANTS IN COMMON. The legal entitlements of these are different, with different outcomes for ownership interests on death.

Co-ownership of property in these ways is not restricted to real estate, but can apply to other forms of property, such as joint bank accounts and credit card accounts. So a question for co-owners is who will inherit their interest?

An important attribute of joint tenancy is A RIGHT OF SURVIVORSHIP. It means that when one co-owner dies, the survivor(s) automatically own the property by the operation of law. This occurs independently of a will (and hence the probate process).

When ultimately there is a sole survivor, that person will own the whole property, and they may deal with it as they wish. So it is important for a sole survivor to revise their will to take this change into account. If not the rules of intestacy apply, which may lead to an undesirable outcome.

With TENANTS IN COMMON there is no right of survivorship. Instead, each co-owner has a separate, undivided share in the property (although not in a physical sense), and may independently deal with it as they wish. Therefore, that share will form part of their estate and they may choose who will inherit it through their will.

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