Joint tenancy is a type of property ownership where two or more people own property as one single entity. The owners do not have an individual share in the property. Each one of the joint tenants has an equal say in property management. This type of property ownership tends to be confused with the common tenancy. The two types of property ownership are similar in that they all involve two or more people living together. The major difference between the two is that in common tenancy, the owners of the property have a distinct share to the property. The amount of share in common tenancy determines financial obligation of each partner. Join Tenants can change to common tenants through several legal processes.
Joint tenancy and common tenancy are also different in how partner’s wills are executed. Wills have little to no effect in joint tenancy. When a partner of a joint tenant dies, the ownership of the property automatically goes to the other partner or partners. The remaining partners do not have any legal obligation of executing a will that is left behind by their dead partner. They living partners can choose to carry out the will of the deceased informally. They can do this without engaging the law.
Typical tenants have a legal obligation to obey the wills of a deceased partner. The will determines who inherits the share of the property that the deceased had. The beneficiary of the will cannot claim a share that exceeds that which is left behind by the dead partner. If he wants more shares in the property, then he has to buy the shares of the surviving partners.
Sometimes partners in common tenancy die without leaving behind a will. In this case, the property is subjected to the rules of intestacy. The deceased is referred to as the intestate person and is property is an estate. The rules of intestacy depend on whether the intestate partner had or did not have a child, and on the value of the property. If there is no child left, the remaining partner inherits all personal items of the deceased as well as the shares the deceased had on the property.
Rules of Intestacy are different in a case where the deceased has left behind a child. The surviving partner is entitled to the first £250,000 of the deceased shares. He is also entitled to half of what remains after the first £250,000. The other half of this balance goes to the child. If they are more than one child, the value of the property that is reserved for children is divided equally among all the children.
Joint tenancy can be changed to common tenancy. This can be an initiative of one of the partners or can be agreed upon by all the parties of a joint tenancy. Partners of joint tenancy agree to enter into common tenancy by drafting a new trust deed or amending an existing one. If a change of ownership comes from one partner, the initiating partner must serve the other partner a Deed of Severance. He can get the Deed of Severance from the Land Registry.