What is Joint Proprietors vs Tenants in Common?

Yarra Ranges Lawyers

Joint Proprietors vs Tenants in Common

When you own a real property (like your home) with another person, there are two different ways that the property can be held in both names: Joint Proprietors or Tenants in Common.

Joint proprietors means that both owners own the same single share of the property. When one of the people on the title pass away, the other person is entitled to the whole property through a survivorship application.

Tenants in common means that each owner owns their own separate share of the property. When one of the people pass away, their share forms part of their estate and is distributed in accordance with their Will if they have one, or the intestacy legislation if they don’t have a Will.

What’s the difference?

There are a lot of differences overall, but specifically looking at the differences when it comes to dealing with these assets after you die, there are a few notable differences.

Joint Proprietors

  • When the first owner dies, transfers to the surviving owner through a survivorship application
  • Doesn’t require probate until both owners have passed away
  • Doesn’t form part of the estate until both owners have passed away
  • Can’t be gifted in a Will because it won’t form part of the estate until both parties have died

Tenants in Common

  • When the first owner dies, their share goes into their estate
  • Requires probate to transfer ownership
  • Each owner has their own separate share of the property and can gift this share in their Will
  • Each owner can own a different share of the property (it doesn’t have to be 50/50)

Does it matter which way property is held?

In short, yes it does!

It is much simpler in many instances if property which couples own together is held as joint proprietors because when one person dies the other person won’t be required to apply for a grant of probate to deal with that property (although, they might still need probate to deal with other assets in the estate). Most couples will want the property to go to the other person anyway.

On the other hand, you may not want the other person to be entitled to the whole property on your death, in which case you would need to hold the property as tenants in common so you can deal with your share in your Will.

There are benefits either way, depending on your individual circumstances, which is why it is so important to get proper legal advice when making your Will.

So, what now?

Contact us today to book an appointment to discuss your estate planning.

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