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Understanding Property Ownership: Tenants in Common, Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship, and Tenants by the Entirety

Posted by Anthony Serra | May 14, 2024 | 0 Comments

1. Tenants in Common: Flexibility and Individual Ownership
When multiple individuals own property as tenants in common, each holds a distinct percentage of the property. Unlike joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety, there is no automatic right of survivorship. That means that when one of the owners of the property dies, their interest passes to their heirs and not to the surviving owners. Each owner can freely transfer or sell their share of the property without the consent of the other owners. This arrangement offers flexibility but may lead to complexities in decision-making and potential disputes among co-owners.

2. Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship: Automatic Transfer of Ownership
Joint tenancy with right of survivorship is a form of property ownership where co-owners jointly own property, and upon the death of one owner, their share automatically transfers to the surviving owner(s) without the need for probate. This arrangement ensures a seamless transfer of ownership and avoids the complexities of probate proceedings.

3. Tenants by the Entirety: Spousal Protection and Unity of Ownership
Tenancy by the entirety is a form of joint ownership available only to married couples. It combines elements of joint tenancy with right of survivorship and marital property laws. In tenancy by the entirety, each spouse owns an undivided interest in the entire property, and upon the death of one spouse, the surviving spouse automatically inherits the deceased spouse's share. This arrangement provides some level of asset protection against creditors of individual spouses and ensures the unity of ownership within the marital unit.

Understanding the nuances of property ownership structures—whether as tenants in common, joint tenants with right of survivorship, or tenants by the entirety—is crucial for individuals navigating real estate transactions. Each arrangement offers distinct advantages and considerations related to decision-making, asset protection, and transfer of ownership rights. Consulting with legal and financial professionals can help individuals determine the most suitable ownership structure based on their specific needs and circumstances.

About the Author

Anthony Serra

Tony Serra is a passionate advocate, especially for the elderly, disabled and those of modest means who need the services of an experienced and caring attorney. For more than 30 years, Tony has been helping common, everyday folks navigate their way through life's turbulent waters. Through innovation and utilizing modern technology, Tony and his law firm are now able to offer quality legal services that at one time were prohibitively expensive, at a fraction of the cost. If you need basic legal services, such as a Will, Power of Attorney, Living Will, Special Needs Trust, real estate transactions, uncontested guardianship pleadings and much more, please visit our website and our SMART LAW legal services platform. You will be pleasantly surprised by what we offer and glad you did! Tony is also an experienced mediator and founder of the Conflict Resolution Center of NJ. Tony has specific training in family matters as well as elder law and contested guardianship and estate cases.  


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