There are pros and cons to both a joint tenancy and a tenancy in common. Which one is best for you will depend on your individual needs and circumstances.
What are the differences?
- In a joint tenancy, both of you will own the whole property. If one of you dies the property will automatically pass to the other (which, in legal jargon, is known as the right of survivorship).
- In a tenancy in common, each of you owns a specified proportion of the property. For example, you might stipulate that you own the property equally; or that one of you owns a 70% interest and the other 30%; or specify that the proportionate interests in the property are divided in some other way.
- Another key difference is that if one of you dies in a tenancy in common, the deceased's proportionate interest in the property (be it 50%, 30%, whatever...) will not pass automatically to the survivor. The deceased's will determines who takes the interest... provided they write a will. If they don't write a will, the interest is distributed in accordance with the laws of intestacy.
What if one, or both, of you decide(s) you want to change the way you own the property? (e.g., you decide to separate)
If ever you want to change the way you own your property, or have any questions about the different ways you can hold title, you should consult a solicitor who specialises in conveyancing.
** Additional Information & Advice **
You can obtain further information about property law on FindLaw.
Depending on your circumstances, however, you may want to speak with a solicitor who specialises in conveyancing. You can be matched with a conveyancing solicitor in your area for free via solicitor matching services, which can also help you to understand the best course of action and whether you are ready to hire a solicitor.