Co-Ownership Of Property

Tenancy In Common Definition

Joint Tenants With Right Of Survivorship

To understand the idea of “tenants in common”, you need to realize that the word “tenant” in this case refers to owners, not renters.  That is why “tenants in common” is also referred to as co-ownership of property. In a situation where one of the co-owners of a property dies, there are many questions that emerge concerning inheritance and probate avoidance.

What happens after the death of a co-owner can be determined by a deed or a last will and testament. If none of these options are available, then the state’s intestacy code of the Estate Code can provide a solution (more about Estate Planning here). To learn more about co ownership of property contact an experienced lawyer.

When The Co-owners Are Spouses

As tenants In Common

People often think that the surviving spouse automatically inherits the co-owned property when the other spouse dies. But this is not always the case especially in situations where the deceased spouse left behind a Will or died without a Will (intestate).  In case, the spouse died intestate, then all immediate family members are possible heirs.

The property may be inherited 100% by the surviving spouse in this situation, but only if the property was community property and the deceased did not have children.  This may also happen if the surviving children are biological children of both spouses.

When Co-owners Are Not Spouses

Joint Tenants In Common

The two co-owners of a property that are not spouses are often referred to as tenants-in-common. While each party owns half of the property, there is no automatic inheritance of property by a surviving tenant in case one of them dies. What happens instead is that the share of property owned by the deceased passes to the deceased’s heir or heirs by a Will or through Intestate succession.

Joint Tenancy With Right Of Survivorship

Right Of Survivorship Deed

Co Ownership Of PropertyWhen people own a property as joint tenants with the right of survivorship, the share of the property belonging to the decedent passes to the other owners not the heirs of the decedent.  This happens even if the decedent left the property to heirs using a Will. Joint property ownership with survivorship rights is still a new concept in Texas.

Survivorship rights must be included in on the deed right at the time the parties involved receive interest in the property.  Both parties must sign and acknowledge the deed for it to be valid. But it is a great tool that parties can use to avoid the lengthy and expensive probate process.

This type of property ownership is an available option for both non-spouses and spouses.

What About Deeds Prepared By Title Companies

Joint owners Of Property

One reason why real estate lawyers advise against relying entirely on deed companies for deed preparation is that deed companies do not prioritize your interests. That is why your lawyer is likely to push for a deed that is customized to you or add extra clauses to a minimalist deed that a title company hands you.

Customizing a warranty deed for your unique property can protect you in the future from lawsuits. This is because a customized deed is more likely to clearly state at closing that the joint owners have survivorship rights. Consult an experienced real estate lawyer in Texas to help you properly draft a deed.

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