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What does right of survivorship mean in a joint tenancy?

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Quick Answer

The right of survivorship in a joint tenancy deed means when a joint owner of a piece of property dies, the deceased's interest in the property is transferred to the remaining owner or owners, The Free Dictionary by Farlex explains. The property becomes exempt from probate when the right of survivorship is attached to the title, About.com notes.

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Full Answer

People who own property jointly typically take title without the right of survivorship, About.com notes. Each person owns a certain percentage of the property, and when one of the owners dies, that percentage of property passes through his estate, which is usually outlined in his will. The property passes to the other owner if he is an heir through marriage or blood or was specifically named as a beneficiary in the deceased's will. Passing ownership to a beneficiary who is also part owner of the property must still go through probate.

Another type of joint ownership is called tenants in common. With this type of ownership, each tenant owns a specific percentage of the property, and he is free to do whatever he chooses with his interest in the property. This means he can sell his share of ownership without the need for approval from the other owners, About.com explains. The interest in the property does not have to be divided up equally when taking ownership as tenants in common.

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