Joint estates allow two or more people to own title to real property at the same time. It is important to make sure you have the right form of ownership for your property because the form of ownership affects how the property is transferred to someone else. When a property owner dies, determining the ownership of the property depends on the type of ownership defined by the contract. When multiple people own a property, the two main types of ownership of property are tenants in common and joint tenancy.

Tenants in Common is when there are two or more people that have common or equal right to possession and enjoyment of the property. Each tenant has the right to possession of the whole property. However, each owner holds a separate individual interest or estate in the property. For example, let’s say Tenant 1 and Tenant 2 own 25%, and Tenant 3 owns 50% of the property. Each party is entitled to sell his or her respective interest, dispose of it by will, or leave it in their will for an heir. However, unlike joint tenancy, Tenants 1,2 & 3 can sell their respective interest, dispose of it by will, devise, or convey his interest, or leave it in their will for an heir. However, they cannot do the previous actions with the entire property because they only own part of the property.

Joint tenancy is like a tenancy in common, but the difference is the joint tenants have the right of survivorship. A joint tenancy with the right of survivorship is very common between couples. The deed must explicitly express a joint tenancy, and the owners must be explicitly identified as joint tenants. Joint tenants also have equal ownership interests in the property. For example, if there are three tenants that each own one-third interest in the property and one of these tenants die, his or her interest immediately ceases to exist and the remaining tenants own the entire property. Another advantage of having joint tenancy with right of survivorship is that you can avoid the hassle of going through probate and the costs that can incur with it. All you need to do to transfer title and avoid court proceedings is file an affidavit and death certificate with the County Auditor and Recorder.

If you have any questions, want to change your ownership in your property, or would like us to look over your deed, please call us at (614) 429- 1053.