question.jpgIn Trusts and Estates

What is tenancy in common?

“Tenancy in common” is one of the ways that people may own property together. For example, in most states, if you give away your property to two other people, unless you specify otherwise, they will own that property by tenancy in common. This form of ownership means that each so-called tenant-in-common has full rights to use and enjoy the property while they are alive. When one of the owners dies, their share in the property goes through their estate, via a will or state intestacy statutes. This differs from some other forms of joint ownership of property where there is something called survivorship, which means that the other owners get the dead owner’s interest. The impact of this point is that simply owning a property by tenancy in common does not remove the property from your probate - instead, you have to make an inter vivos transfer or give away the future interest.

This same distinction does not generally apply to property owned by joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety, where there are survivorship rights which remove the property from the deceased’s probate estate.