Joint tenancy with right of survivorship (JTWROS) is a type of co-ownership where two or more individuals own a property together, with each person having an equal right to use and possess the property. The key feature of JTWROS is the right of survivorship, which means that if one of the joint tenants dies, their share of the property automatically passes to the surviving joint tenants, bypassing the deceased person’s estate and avoiding probate court.
Tenants in common is another type of co-ownership where two or more individuals own a property together, but each person holds a separate and distinct share of the property. Unlike JTWROS, there is no right of survivorship in tenants in common. If one of the tenants in common dies, their share of the property passes to their designated heirs or estate, and not automatically to the surviving tenants in common.
The main difference between joint tenancy with right of survivorship and tenants in common is the way ownership is transferred in the event of death. With JTWROS, the surviving joint tenants automatically inherit the deceased joint tenant’s share of the property, while with tenants in common, the deceased tenant’s share passes to their estate or designated heirs.
Another difference between the two is that tenants in common can hold unequal shares of the property, while joint tenants must have equal shares. Additionally, tenants in common can sell or transfer their share of the property without the consent of the other tenants, while joint tenants must act together and agree on any transfer of ownership.
Joint tenancy with right of survivorship is often preferred for spouses, as it provides a convenient and straightforward way for the surviving spouse to inherit the deceased spouse’s share of the property without having to go through probate court. This can save time, money, and reduce stress during a difficult time.
However, it’s important to note that joint tenancy with right of survivorship is not the only option for spouses, and tenants in common may be a better choice for some couples depending on their specific circumstances and preferences. For example, tenants in common allows each spouse to leave their share of the property to a different person or entity in the event of death.
It’s important for a notary or lawyer to know how a buyer wishes to go on title because the choice between joint tenancy with right of survivorship and tenants in common has legal implications for the transfer of ownership and the distribution of assets in the event of death or other circumstances.
By having this information, a notary or lawyer can ensure that the transfer of ownership is done correctly and that the buyer’s intentions are accurately reflected in the legal documents. This can help to avoid disputes and ensure that the buyer’s assets are protected and distributed as they intended.
In conclusion, understanding the difference between joint tenancy with right of survivorship and tenants in common, and which one is preferred for spouses, is an important aspect of owning property. If you’re considering buying property with another person, it’s advisable to consult a notary or lawyer to ensure that you understand your options and make an informed decision that best meets your needs and goals.