Select your state

Real property

joint tenancy

Joint tenancy is the ownership of real property by two or more co-owners (joint tenants) who have identical interests in the property—and also have a right of survivorship.

A right of survivorship means that upon the death of a joint tenant the property passes directly to the other joint tenant(s), allowing the ownership to be transferred to the surviving joint tenant(s) without going through the probate or court systems. A joint tenancy is sometimes referred to as a joint tenancy with right of survivorship.

This right of survivorship is what distinguishes a joint tenancy from a tenancy in common, in which co-owners hold the property as tenants in common. In some states the right of survivorship must be clearly expressed in the document transferring or conveying the property to the joint tenants, or the tenancy will be presumed to be a tenancy in common.

Laws vary from state to state and in many states the law regarding joint ownership of real property is located in a state’s statutes—although it may also be located in a state’s court opinions (common law or case law).

In Texas, joint tenancy is recognized as a form of co-ownership of property, which includes the right of survivorship. This means that when one of the joint tenants dies, their interest in the property automatically passes to the surviving joint tenant(s) without the need for probate. To create a joint tenancy in Texas, the 'four unities' must be present: unity of time, title, interest, and possession. Additionally, the right of survivorship must be explicitly stated in the deed or the instrument creating the tenancy; otherwise, the ownership may be presumed to be a tenancy in common, which does not include the right of survivorship. Texas Property Code provides the statutory framework for joint tenancy and the right of survivorship, and it is important for the conveyance document to be clear and precise to ensure the intended form of ownership is established.

Legal articles related to this topic