Buying property as joint tenants may also be sought by those who aren't husband and wife for the purpose of pooling investment funds. When co-owners are unrelated, they may wish to hold an interest in the property as tenants in common, without a right of survivorship, so that each owner may separately will or transfer their share of interest in the property. Let's take a look at the different forms of joint ownership to compare the advantages and drawbacks of each:
- Joint tenants with rights of survivorship - In this form of joint ownership, the survivorship rights attached to the deed give surviving co-owner(s) the portion(s) of a deceased property owner if one of the joint tenants passes away. There needs to be consent of all joint tenants before a tenant's interest in the property can be transferred to a third party.
- Tenants in common - Tenants in common own real or personal property in a manner that entitles each owner to an "undivided interest" in the property and equal right to make use of the property. Joint tenants in common may own an unequal interest in the property, but each has the right to use and occupy the entire property. If one of the tenants in common dies, there is no right of survivorship, and each tenant may separately sell, mortgage or will their interest to another. A tenancy in common interest is different from a joint tenancy interest, which transfers to the survivor outside of probate. When a tenant in common dies, the estate must go through probate to transfer the interest in the tenancy in common.
- Community property - A community property agreement is allowed in some states to change separate property to community, or vice versa, through a written agreement by the spouses.