Skip to content
SuperMoney logo
SuperMoney logo

What Are Joint Tenants With Right of Survivorship (JTWROS)

Last updated 03/15/2024 by

SuperMoney Team

Edited by

Fact checked by

Summary:
Joint tenancy with right of survivorship (JTWROS) is a type of property ownership commonly used by couples, business partners, and family members. This ownership type has several benefits, including avoiding probate, simplicity, and protection against creditor claims. However, it also has drawbacks, such as no control over who inherits the property and no flexibility for estate planning.

What are Joint Tenants With Right of Survivorship (JTWROS)?

When it comes to owning property with another person, there are different ways you can hold title. One of the most common ways is joint tenancy with right of survivorship, or JTWROS for short. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what JTWROS is, its requirements, how it differs from tenancy in common, and its advantages and disadvantages.

Understanding JTWROS

Joint tenancy with right of survivorship is a type of ownership in which two or more people own property together. When one owner dies, their share of the property automatically passes to the surviving owner(s). This is known as the “right of survivorship.” The surviving owner(s) then own the property outright.

Requirements

To create a joint tenancy with right of survivorship, there are four requirements that must be met:
  • Unity of time: all owners must acquire their interests in the property at the same time.
  • Unity of title: all owners must acquire their interests from the same source, such as through the same deed.
  • Unity of interest: all owners must have equal ownership interests in the property.
  • Right of survivorship: the deed must explicitly state that the owners hold title as joint tenants with right of survivorship.

JTWROS vs. tenancy in common

Joint tenancy with right of survivorship is often compared to tenancy in common, another form of property ownership. While both involve multiple owners, there are some key differences:
  • Right of survivorship: JTWROS includes the right of survivorship, meaning that when one owner dies, their share automatically passes to the surviving owner(s). Tenancy in common does not include the right of survivorship.
  • Ownership interests: In JTWROS, all owners have equal ownership interests. In tenancy in common, each owner can have a different ownership interest, such as 50/50 or 70/30.
  • Transfer of ownership: In JTWROS, ownership transfers automatically to the surviving owner(s) when one owner dies. In tenancy in common, the deceased owner’s share passes to their heirs or beneficiaries as specified in their will.

Advantages and Disadvantages

There are several advantages and disadvantages to holding property as joint tenants with right of survivorship:

Advantages

  • Avoid probate: When one owner dies, their share of the property passes to the surviving owner(s) without the need for probate.
  • Simple and easy: JTWROS is a simple and straightforward way to hold title to property with another person.
  • Protects against creditor claims: If one owner has creditors trying to collect on a debt, the other owner(s) can still keep their share of the property.

Disadvantages

  • No control over who inherits: With JTWROS, the property automatically passes to the surviving owner(s), regardless of what is stated in the deceased owner’s will.
  • Can’t be used for estate planning: JTWROS is not a good option for estate planning purposes because it does not allow for the deceased owner’s share to be passed to anyone other than the surviving owner(s).
  • No protection against disputes: If one owner wants to sell their share of the property, the other owner(s) must agree. If they can’t come to an agreement, legal action may be necessary.

FAQs

Can one owner of JTWROS sell their share of the property?

No, an owner cannot sell their individual share of property held in joint tenancy. Each owner has an undivided interest in the property as a whole.

What happens to JTWROS property when both owners pass away at the same time?

If both owners of JTWROS pass away at the same time, the property will be distributed according to their wills, or according to state law if they do not have a will. If one owner survives even for a few seconds longer than the other, that owner will become the sole owner of the property.

Can JTWROS property be used for estate planning?

While JTWROS property can provide some estate planning benefits, it’s not as flexible as other estate planning tools. With JTWROS, ownership transfers automatically to the surviving owner(s), which means there is no control over who inherits the property. Additionally, JTWROS does not provide tax advantages like other estate planning tools such as trusts.

Key takeaways

  • Joint tenancy with right of survivorship is a type of property ownership in which two or more people own property together.
  • To create JTWROS, four requirements must be met: unity of time, unity of title, unity of interest, and right of survivorship.
  • JTWROS differs from tenancy in common in that it includes the right of survivorship, all owners have equal ownership interests, and ownership transfers automatically to the surviving owner(s).
  • Advantages of JTWROS include avoiding probate, simplicity, and protection against creditor claims. Disadvantages include no control over who inherits, inability to use for estate planning, and no protection against disputes.
  • JTWROS can be created with more than two owners, can be changed to tenancy in common with the consent of all owners, and entities may be able to hold title as joint tenants with right of survivorship.
  • Divorce can impact the ownership of property held as JTWROS, and it’s important to consult with an attorney to understand state laws and agreements.

You might also like