Joint Tenancy

An ownership arrangement in which two or more persons own property with rights of survivorship. The individuals, called joint tenants, share equal ownership of the property. The right of survivorship provides that if any one of the joint tenants dies, the remainder of the property is transferred to the survivors in equal parts. When only one joint tenant is left alive, he or she owns the property individually. Four main features mark a joint tenancy: (1) the joint tenants own an undivided interest in the property as a whole; (2) the estates of the joint tenants are fixed and unalterable by any condition for the tenants’ lifetimes; (3) the joint tenants hold their property under the same title; and (4) the joint tenants all enjoy the same rights. If joint tenants mutually agree to sell the property, they must equally divide the proceeds of the sale. If one joint tenant decides to convey his or her interest in the property to a new owner, the joint tenancy is broken and the new owner is a tenant in common.

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Reference: Joint Tenancy