What is the Difference Between Owning Real estate as Joint Tenants, Tenants by the Entirety and Tenants in Common?

150 150 Charles Siragusa

The three forms in which you can own real estate is as joint tenants, tenants by the entirety or tenants in common.  Each of these three forms of ownership is different from the others in one or more ways.

There is a single common feature between owning a parcel of real estate as tenants by the entirety and as joint tenants, assuming that there are two co-owners; when one of the two co-owners dies the interest of the deceased person automatically, by operation of law, goes to the survivor.  This means that the survivor owns the entire parcel of real estate upon the death of the co-owner.  This also means that neither of the co-owners can transfer his/her interest in the property upon the death of the co-owner.

A parcel of real estate owned as tenants in common has one important distinction from ownership as tenants by the entirety or as joint tenants–if one of the owners dies, the interest of the other does NOT go to the survivor.  Rather, the interest of the deceased person goes to the heirs of the deceased person or to the person or persons designated in the will of the deceased person.

Charles Siragusa

Charles Siragusa

Charles W. Siragusa obtained his Juris Doctor law degree, cum laude, from Northwestern University School of Law after graduating from Northwestern University. He is licensed to practice law in Illinois, and has been addmitted to the Illinois Supreme Court and the United District Court of the Northern District of Illinois. He is also licensed in Illinois as a title agent.

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