Joint tenancy is a form of ownership of the same property by two or more people together. It is different than other forms of co-ownership. With joint tenancy, the last surviving tenant immediately becomes the owner of the whole property upon death of the other joint tenant. Another way of putting this would be called a "right to survivorship." The joint tenants share equal ownership of the property and have equal, undivided right to keep or dispose of the property. The right to survivorship also means that the joint tenant cannot give his/her interest of a property by will or intestate descent.
Almost any kind of property can be held in some form of survivorship. The most common forms are real estate, vehicles and securities, in which are held in joint tenancy. At the same time, it is possible for tangible property such as inventories to be owned in survivorship. On the other hand, it may be difficult to prove ownership if there is no evidence of a true title like a deed or bill of sale.
Joint tenancy should be created on legal documents that establish ownership. The names of the owners should be connected with the word "and." The names of the owners should also be followed with the words "as joint tenants and not as tenants in common."
A joint tenancy is not established until something is done by a party that owns property. With personal and real property, the state controls the creation of a joint tenancy. Joint tenants were originally treated as on unit or one entity. Common law require that the four unities be present when creating a joint tenancy. First, each joint tenant must attain his/her interest in the property at the same time. For example, if John owns property and suggest that Jane becomes part owner, there is no joint tenancy. Secondly, joint tenancy must come about from the same instrument, such as all by deed or all by will. There also must be unity in interest. This means that each joint tenant must...