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Joint Tenancy With Rights and Tenancy In Common

Ask the Real Estate Lawyer: Real Estate Law Q&A

REM # LAW 671

By Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin

Summary: A reader would like to change the title to their home from "joint tenancy with rights of survivorship" to "tenancy in common." Ilyce and Sam explain the differences between the two types of titles and how to change the title itself.

Q: The title to my home is in "joint tenancy with rights of survivorship". What does it take for me to change the title to "tenancy in common"?
(article continues below useful links)

A: Holding title in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship means that each owner of the home owns an equal undivided share of the home and in case one of the owners dies the remaining owners automatically own the property together.

Ownership as tenants in common would allow people to own a property in percentages – the percentages can be different – and upon the death of one of the owners, that person’s share in the building would be transferred according to that person’s will or according to the laws of the state in which the person lived.

If you have a 75 percent ownership in the property, you can convey a portion of that interest to other family members. Each owner owns his or her interest in the building separately from the other, yet each owner has the right to use the building as a whole.

To change title from joint tenancy to tenants in common, all owners of the property should sign a deed conveying their interest in the property to themselves and should specify the interest that each owner holds in the property. The deed should also indicate that the owners hold title as tenants in common and not as joint tenants.

Finally, the deed must be recorded with the recorder of deeds in the county in which the property is located to make the transfer of title of record and effective.

Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Ilyce R. Glink’s latest book is 50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Sell Your Home Faster and For More Money In Any Market. If you have questions for them, write: Real Estate Matters Syndicate, PO Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022 or contact them through Ilyce’s website




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