Joint tenancy refers to an undivided interest in property, taken by two or more joint tenants. The
interest must be equal, accruing under the same conveyance, and beginning at the same time. Upon
the death of a joint tenant, the interest passes to the surviving joint tenant(s), rather than the heirs
of the deceased. This type of ownership is commonly used by couples who want the surviving
partner to receive ownership of the deceased’s share of the property. However, some states have
statutory provisions which deem joint tenancies to be severed upon the death of one joint tenant,
unless the joint owners have an agreement in writing stating otherwise. Other states have abolished
the recognition of joint tenancy altogether and will treat all instances of joint tenancy as tenancy in
common. It is important to understand how a specific state’s statutory provisions will affect the
ownership rights of both joint tenants and tenants in common if you are planning your affairs.