Close this search box.

Table of Contents

Joint Tenancy


Joint tenancy refers to a legal arrangement where two or more individuals share ownership in a property. In this ownership structure, all parties have equal rights to the property and they also share the financial responsibility. One important characteristic of a joint tenancy is the legal notion of “right of survivorship,” meaning if one tenant passes away, their share automatically transfers to the surviving tenants.


The phonetics of the keyword “Joint Tenancy” are: Joint = j-oy-n-tTenancy = t-e-n-a-n-c-y

Key Takeaways

  1. Equal Ownership: In a joint tenancy, each tenant (or owner) has an equal right to the property. This means that each owner has an equal share and interest in the property, regardless of how much they contributed to the purchase.
  2. Right of Survivorship: One of the key aspects of joint tenancy is the ‘right of survivorship’. This implies that when one tenant dies, their interest in the property automatically passes to the surviving tenants, regardless of what is stated in the deceased tenant’s will.
  3. Severance of Joint Tenancy: A joint tenancy can be severed by one tenant selling or transferring their interest to another person, thus creating a tenancy in common instead. The remaining tenants retain their right of survivorship with each other, but not with the one who has transferred their interest.


Joint Tenancy is an important term in business/finance as it pertains to the ownership of an asset or property by two or more parties. The significance lies in its unique “right of survivorship” feature, which means that should one of the joint tenants pass away, their interest in the property would automatically transfer to the surviving tenant(s), regardless of what is stated in a will. This can lead to considerable time and cost savings in estate planning and probate processes. Additionally, joint tenancy provides each tenant equal rights to the property, including access, profits generated, and sale proceeds. However, it also equally splits liabilities, making all tenants jointly accountable for any debt or responsibility attached to the property. Thus, understanding joint tenancy is crucial when considering joint ownership of property or assets.


Joint tenancy is often used as an effective estate planning tool, as it helps to simplify the transfer of assets upon death, avoiding the potentially long, expensive and public process of probate. When one co-owner under a joint tenancy agreement dies, the remaining ownership interest automatically passes to the surviving joint tenant(s) through a process known as the right of survivorship, which makes this kind of arrangement particularly attractive for spouses and life partners. Typically, joint tenancy is used for shared ownership of real estate, vehicle, bank accounts or other assets, and broadly impedites the deceased’s share from becoming part of their estate, which could otherwise be subjected to tax implications.

Another principal purpose of joint tenancy is to ensure that assets remain accessible to the surviving party in the event of one owner’s incapacitation or death. This can provide a smoother transition as it enables the surviving joint tenant(s) to manage or dispose of the jointly held property without requiring the approval of a court, ensuring that assets can continue to be utilized as needed. However, it should be noted that this kind of ownership arrangement requires a high level of trust between the parties involved, as any joint tenant has a right to use, possess, or sell the property, potentially affecting the value of the other owners’ shares. For this reason, it’s essential to carefully consider and consult with appropriate legal and tax advisors before entering into a joint tenancy arrangement.


1. Real Estate Ownership: Two or more people can jointly purchase a property like a house, under joint tenancy. This is a common option among married couples. Given that the joint tenancy agreement carries a right of survivorship, if one spouse dies, the surviving spouse automatically becomes the sole owner of the property.

2. Joint Bank Accounts: Often utilized by couples, business partners, or close relatives, a joint bank account operates under a joint tenancy agreement. Anyholder can make withdrawals, deposits, or manage the account generally. If one account holder dies, the remaining balance in the account will pass directly to the surviving joint tenant, regardless of any will or inheritance arrangements.

3. Investment or Brokerage Accounts: Much like a joint bank account, an investment account can also be held under joint tenancy. This means that both partners have the right to control the investments within the account and in case of one owner’s death, the assets within the account would automatically pass to the surviving owner.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Joint Tenancy?

Joint Tenancy is a legal term that describes the shared ownership of a property by two or more parties where each party owns an undivided interest in the property. This type of ownership also has a feature known as Right of Survivorship.

What is the Right of Survivorship in Joint Tenancy?

Right of Survivorship is a feature of Joint Tenancy which states that the property automatically passes to the surviving owner upon the death of the other. No probate process is involved.

Does Joint Tenancy apply to business partners too?

Yes, business partners can also hold the property as joint tenants. The ownership rights are equal, regardless of how much each partner contributes towards the purchase.

Can a Joint Tenant sell his/her share?

Yes, a joint tenant can sell his/her share at any time. However, the sale usually converts the ownership structure into a Tenancy in Common, not Joint Tenancy, for the new owner.

What is the difference between Joint Tenancy and Tenancy in Common?

The key difference is that in Tenancy in Common, each owner can have different shares and they can pass their share to someone else in a will upon death. In Joint Tenancy, each owner has equal shares and the property automatically passes to the surviving owner(s) upon death.

How is Joint Tenancy formed?

Joint Tenancy is formed through a legal deed which needs to meet certain requirements – it should be intentional, all owners acquire the property simultaneously, everyone has equal ownership and everyone has the same right to the whole property.

Can joint tenancy be terminated?

Yes, joint tenancy can be terminated if one of the joint tenants sells or transfers their interest to another person, if a joint tenant passes away, or if a court order is presented to partition the property.

What are the tax implications of Joint Tenancy?

The surviving tenant does not have to pay inheritance tax because of the Right of Survivorship. However, the capital gains tax can apply when the property is sold. It’s advisable to consult with a tax advisor for specific cases.

Related Finance Terms

  • Right of Survivorship
  • Tenants in Common
  • Co-ownership
  • Partition
  • Property Share

Sources for More Information

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More