Articles Tagged with joint tenants

Underwood-Blog-Images-3-300x300Joint tenancy is a special type of co-ownership recognized in California. It is commonly associated with married couples, ensuring that when one of them dies, their entire interest in the property passes to the other spouse. This is called the right of survivorship, and it is the defining trait of a joint tenancy.

The right of survivorship, however, can be an uncomfortable concept for co-owners, particularly when those owners are not related and are merely business partners. For that reason, co-owners can attempt to sever the joint tenancy to extinguish the right of survivorship. 

The Underwood Law Firm is familiar with all types of cotenancies, including joint tenancies, and the various means of severing them under the law. 

Underwood-Blog-Images-4-300x300Co-owning property as tenants in common is the favored form of joint ownership in California. (Wilson v. S.L. Rey, Inc. (1993) 17 Cal.App.4th 234, 242 (S.L. Rey).) Yet, property held in tenancy in common brings with it a unique set of potential issues that are not present in the other forms of joint ownership recognized by the state. (see California Civil Code, § 682.) 

Different ownership interest percentages between co-owners can affect one’s responsibilities for common expenses and levels of disbursement on a sale. A fiduciary relationship between joint owners can disrupt a co-owner’s ability to acquire an encumbrance. Payments for improvements to the property may not be recoverable in an accounting action if deemed “unnecessary.” These are just some of the issues we will attempt to address in this post about the financials of tenancies in common. 

Developing Co-Owned Property

Underwood-Blog-Images-1-300x300In California, most real estate is held either as marital property, as a tenancy in partnership, as joint tenants, or as tenants-in-common. While holding title as spouses, or in a partnership, is relatively straight-forward, questions frequently arise as to the differences between “co-tenants” and “tenants-in-common.” This article will explore the difference between the second types of ways of holding title between unmarried individuals, which is generally known as “co-tenancy.” (Civ. Code § 682.) 

How is a joint tenancy created in real estate? 

Generally, creating and maintaining a joint tenancy is much difficult than creating a tenancy-in-common. First, a joint tenancy exists only when the “four unities” are concurrently present in the estate: unity of interest, unity of time, unity of title, and unity of possession. (Tenhet, 18 Cal.3d 150, 155.) Second, by statute, a joint tenancy exists “when expressly declared in the will or transfer to be a joint tenancy.” (CCP § 683.) 

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