Joint tenancy is one of the types of property ownership, which entitles two people to simultaneously own the property. The two owners in this type of ownership would own equal, undivided interests in the piece of property. Joint tenancy is very common between a husband and wife that own their half of a property, usually their home. Both owners have an equal access to the property, and occupancy, as well as the assets obtained from the property if it is used as an investment.
Joint tenancies usually entitle their owners to rights of survivorship, which has become very common. A right of survivorship grants the share of one of the owners (owner A), to the other owner (owner B), should that owner (A), happen to die during time of ownership. The surviving owner is entitled to full ownership at this time, over that property and its assets.
The only step necessary to acquire this should there be a death, is by the now sole owner, to execute and record a death affidavit. In marriage, where joint tenancies with right of survivorship are the most common, the “property” doesn’t have to be physical land or home property. The joint tenancy can refer to a bank account, personal property, brokerage accounts, etc. in addition to real estate property. Again, all the assets in these accounts would be split down the middle, and with right of survivorship, they would be given completely to the surviving owner in case of death.
The two owners can work out a joint tenancy deed, or other document, prior to signing to establish certain guidelines to follow in case of death. This can provide any specific instructions as to a previously arranged split of assets other than to the other owner, or similar situation. Unless such document exists, the right of survivorship will be solely given to the other ownership under the law.
Some benefits of joint tenancy with right of survivorship include the fact that both owners share an equal responsibility over that property, and the ability to possibly avoid probate. Due to the fact that the property is divided evenly between both owners, they, not only share all the positive things that come with it, but also its liabilities. In a real estate example, if a couple owns a home other than theirs to rent out (as investment), they both share equally the amount of rent money that comes in from the tenant(s).
However, they are both entitled so spend an equal share of time/money on the maintenance of the property, as well as payment of taxes, all pending on prior arrangements made. Also if repairs are needed on that property that the landlord is entitled to, they must both contribute evenly to making those repairs. This is a very good guideline of joint tenancy, so it leaves room for very little debate from a legal standpoint.
Now, probate can be a very messy and lengthy process to distribute property and assets of a deceased person. Through this joint tenancy (with rights of survivorship), the law is very clear, therefore, eliminating confusion, lawyer fees, and time to acquire the property. The distribution can take place with ease, both swiftly and efficiently.