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Transferring Ownership of Jointly-Owned Property

Transferring property rights can be a complicated affair, especially when the property is owned by more than one person. Always consult with an attorney before transferring property to someone else. Otherwise, you may find out you've given up a key aspect of ownership. Read more to find out.

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Jointly-owned property

Property can be jointly owned in generally 3 different ways: (1) tenancy in common; (2) joint tenancy with rights of survivorship; and (3) tenancy by the entirety.

Rights of Survivorship

Ownership can crafted where each joint owner holds an undivided interest in the property, and upon the death of an owner, the deceased owner's share automatically vests with the other joint owners who survive him or her. This is true regardless of what the deceased owner's will or other estate planning document says. Often this type of ownership is chosen specifically to avoid probate.

Transferring ownership when right of survivorship exists

Recently, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled in Bryant v. Bryant, that where two persons own land as joint tenants with right of survivorship, if one of them transfers their interest to someone else, that action will terminate both of the joint tenants' survivorship interests. This means the owners would now have a tenancy in common, and the death of one would not automatically vest full property rights in the other. 

Estate Planning Questions?

If you have questions about transferring property, wills, or other estate planning issues, call the experienced attorneys at Saenz & Maniatis, PLLC at (615) 366-1211 for a consulation. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9am to 6pm.

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