Tenants in Common with Right of Survivorship

Tenants in Common with Right of Survivorship

Updated on March 13, 2023

What it Means to Hold Title as Tenants in Common with Right of Survivorship

When purchasing or otherwise acquiring real property, a buyer is often faced with a decision on how to hold title to the property. This issue may also come up during the course of ownership as situations and relationships change. In this blog post, we discuss holding title to property as tenants in common with the right of survivorship. We also discuss what this entails.

To best understand what it means to hold title as tenants in common with right of survivorship, we begin by breaking down the two concepts. Specifically, what it means to hold title as tenants in common and what it means to hold title with a right of survivorship.

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Tenancy in Common

A tenancy in common is an interest in real or personal property owned by several persons, not in a joint ownership or in partnership. This is a favored way of holding title under California law. Each of the owners in a tenancy in common have a right to share equally in the possession of the whole property. In addition, where there is a tenancy in common, each owner may hold different fractional shares or estates of different durations. In light of the same, another feature of a tenancy in common is that each owner is responsible for their pro-rata share of property expenses and are entitled to a pro rata share of any income or sale proceeds generated by the property.

Right of Survivorship

However, one feature a tenancy in common does not have is a right of survivorship. Generally speaking, if there are multiple tenants in common and one owner dies, that deceased owner’s interest passes to his or her heirs. In contrast, where a right of survivorship exists, when one owner dies, the entire estate automatically belongs to the remaining owners. For example, if there is a right of survivorship, if there are three owners and one dies, the property automatically belongs to the remaining two owners.

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In light of the foregoing, where owners want to hold property as tenants in common and use the right of survivorship to avoid probate, owners may choose to own property as tenants in common with a right of survivorship. A tenancy in common with the right of survivorship also eliminates the requirement of meeting the four unities of acquiring title at the same time that isrequired to form a joint tenancy, another way to hold title with the right of survivorship.

Schorr Law has experience with all types of ownership issues involving real property.

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