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Do you know the difference between a joint tenancy and tenancy in common?

If more than one person owns a parcel of land, it can be held either as joint tenants or as tenants in common.  The distinction between joint tenants and tenants in common is important because:

  1. If you hold land as joint tenants with someone else, upon the death of the other party, the share of that deceased person is automatically acquired by the remaining proprietor/s of the land.  Consequently, spouses or relationship partners normally acquire land as joint tenants;
  2. In contrast, if you hold land as tenants in common, then upon the death of either of you, the share of the deceased proprietor/s does not automatically go to the surviving proprietor/s.  Instead, it is transferred in accordance with the deceased persons Will.  For example, two brothers buying a duplex are likely to want to hold that property as a tenancy in common.

When you are buying real property, it is important to understand the distinction between a “joint tenancy” and “tenants in common” before you make a decision as to how you want to hold that land.

Please contact us if we can assist you in a transfer, sale or purchase of property.