Joint Property Ownership

Joint Property Ownership

In Florida, there are three distinct types of joint property ownership. Tenancy in Common (TIC), Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship (JTWROS), and as discussed in a previous blog, Tenancy by the Entirety (TbyE).

Joint Ownership Property GuidingThere is a common perception that because property is held jointly with another, that upon the unfortunate death of one, the property will automatically transfer to the surviving owner(s). In Florida, that would be an incorrect assumption. Florida law states that the right of survivorship in cases of real estate is not the rule, but the exception. If you want to create rights of survivorship, you must expressly provide for it in the deed.

When two or more people own property as Tenants in Common (TIC), each owns an undivided interest in the whole property. They have the right to sell or dispose of their interest, during life or at death, without the consent of the other owner. This can lead to an action for partition where a court will order the property to be sold and proceeds divided. If one dies, their interest does not pass to the other owner(s); it becomes part of their estate and must be probated.

On the other hand, when property is owned as Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship (JTWROS), the property will pass by operation of law (after recording the death certificate) to the surviving property owner(s).

Remember that there must be language in the deed that specifies the parties’ intent to hold the property jointly with rights of survivorship. If the language is omitted, it will be treated as being held as Tenants in Common.

JTWROS is often used as a way to avoid the probate process. However, you need to be aware of the potential problems that could arise. Does your Joint Tenant have creditors or an estranged spouse that could make a claim to your property?  In any event, a living trust accomplishes the same goal of avoiding probate, but without the exposure.

This is a generalized discussion and is not intended for any particular set of facts and should not be relied upon as such. By no means does this blog create an attorney-client relationship or attorney-client privilege between the Attorney and the readers. Anything relied upon in this or any blog, is done so at the readers own risk.

VERNON W. GUIRGUIS, ESQ.
The Guirguis Law Firm, PLLC
1423 S.E. 16th Place, STE 204
Cape Coral, Florida 33990
239.573.9939 Telephone
239.603.6965 Facsimile

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Posted on April 24, 2013, in Legal and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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