What Do Joint Tenants Mean?


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Joint tenants can be two or more parties who jointly own a property in such a manner that if one of them dies, the survivor or survivors hold on to the complete ownership of the property. Each of the joint tenants has an equal or undivided interest to maintain or sell off the property. Undivided interest means that each cotenant, as a party to the joint contract, can use or dispose the land or property collectively, only with the permission of all the cotenants.

The right of ownership is created by the joint tenant contract. As per the contract, if any of the joint tenants dies, the ownership is regained by the survivors.

Joint tenants are commonly known to jointly share the land ownership but the property can also be money, tangible property, intangible property s and other items. "Tenancy by the entirety" is also a form of joint tenants contract in which the cotenants are only husband and wife. The contract created by a deed or a will retains the basic properties of a joint contract, like the right to ownership and transfer of ownership of the remaining property on the death of a spouse. In addition, unlike a usual joint tenants contract, a "tenancy by the entirety" protects the spouse's interest in the property from the dead spouse's creditors. However, in the event of a divorce, the tenancy by the entirety becomes another contract called "tenancy in common," and the right of ownership is removed.

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