Tenants in Common vs. Joint Tenants

Thinking about purchasing a home with another person? Confused about terms, such as the difference between the terms “tenants in common” and “joint tenants” and how it can affect you?

Prospective homeowners are faced with many important decisions when they decide to purchase a home. One of the most important decisions when buying a home with one or more other people is whether you hold the title to the property as joint tenants or as tenants in common.

The effects of this decision arise mainly upon the death of one of the owners of the property, but can also impact the amount of property transfer tax that the new owners must pay. Keep reading for a clear explanation of the main differences between joint tenancy and tenants in common in BC and other provinces.

What’s The Difference Between Tenants in Common and Joint Tenants?

The primary difference between joint tenants and tenants in common is that joint tenants benefit from the right of survivorship. The right of survivorship ensures that when one owner dies, the property passes to the other surviving owner(s) without having to go through the court process of probate. This process involves a court distributing the deceased owner’s property and can be long and costly. Married couples often choose to own property as joint tenants to avoid probate, though some decide to own as tenants in common to claim a higher First-Time Home Buyer’s credit.

On the other hand, tenants in common may freely decide the share of the property that each individual owns, whereas joint tenants each own an equal share in the property (50/50). As well, each tenant-in-common is entitled to pass their share of the property on to another person via a will, a real estate transfer, or even sell it.

However, upon the death of one of the tenants-in-common, their share of the property passes according to either their will or the rules governing property owners who die without having written a will. The property will then have to go through probate and be subject to probate fees – a subject we will discuss in one of our upcoming articles.

There are benefits and drawbacks to each form of property ownership. We can help you decide whether joint tenancy or tenancy in common is right for you and your family.

If you’re looking for more info on tenants in common or joint tenancy, please contact our legal team. We offer free initial consultations with no pressure or obligations.

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