When two or more people own the same piece of real estate, the language in their deed will determine what type of ownership they share.

Typically, the deed will state that the land is being transferred to the new owners as tenants in common, joint tenants, or tenants by the entirety.

The type of tenancy stated in the deed will determine what happens to an owner’s share of the property upon his death.

Here is a quick summary of how these different forms of joint ownership work:

  1. Tenants in Common – Upon the death of such an owner, his interest in the property will go to his heirs or to the beneficiaries named in his will.
  2. Joint Tenants – Upon the death of a joint tenant, his interest in the property will go to the remaining joint owner or owners.
  3. Tenants by the Entirety – This is a form of joint ownership that only married couples can share.  If one spouse should die, the surviving spouse will instantly become the owner of the property in its entirety.

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