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How Joint Tenants With Rights Of Survivorship In Georgia Works

Joint Tenants With Rights Of Survivorship Georgia - Tenancy In Common Georgia - Rights Of Survivorship Deed In Georgia

How do joint tenants with rights of survivorship in Georgia work?

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • the requirements for joint tenancy
  • how joint tenancy works
  • joint tenancy vs tenants in common
  • whether you can avoid probate
  • the pros and cons of joint tenancy

Let’s dig in.

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Key Takeaways For Joint Tenants With Rights Of Survivorship In Georgia

  • Joint tenancy is property ownership associated with “real property.” (i.e., real estate)
  • Each party in a joint tenancy has an equal interest in the real property. They are responsible for half of the financial obligations of the property.
  • A joint tenancy creates a right of survivorship. Let’s say that when one party dies. Their property interest is automatically transferred to the surviving owner.
  • Joint tenancy differs from a common tenancy. A deceased tenant’s share is passed on to their heirs with a common tenancy. And not to the surviving tenant.
  • A joint tenancy can get terminated unilaterally. And can be done without the consent of the other co-tenants.
  • You are allowed to sell your ownership interest in the property. This will convert joint tenancy to tenants in common for the remaining owners.
  • A property with joint tenancy avoids probate. It’s perfect for married couples that don’t want their house to go through probate.
  • Not all people need to be on a mortgage. All tenants need to be on the deed.

What Is Joint Tenancy With Rights Of Survivorship In Georgia?

Joint tenancy means joint ownership where two people own real property together.

They each have equal:

  • ownership interests
  • rights to the property
  • obligations to that property

Joint tenants can get created by anyone, including:

  • married couples
  • relatives
  • friends
  • partners
  • business associates

Joint tenants get created with a “right of survivorship” in Georgia.

This means that the surviving spouse or partner gets your share when you die.

This is commonly used for estate planning for married couples.

Joint tenants with rights of survivorship allow you to skip probate in Georgia.

Let’s say that there are two joint tenancy owners of the property; Jack and Amber.

Their ownership is split 50/50.

If Jack dies, Amber will absorb Jack’s 50% automatically.

Because she has rights of survivorship, the property will not go through probate.

Jack’s 50% of the property will get automatically transferred to Amber.

And she will be 100% owner of the entire property with undivided interest.

How Joint Tenancy In Georgia Works

In Georgia, a joint tenancy gets created when the property gets purchased.

For a jointly owned property to be joint tenancy, you need to meet the “four unities.”

The four unities for joint tenants with rights of survivorship in Georgia are:

  • All tenants must obtain the property at the same time.
  • All tenants must have acquired the title of the property by the same legal document.
  • All tenants must have an equal share of the property.
  • All tenants must exercise equal rights to ownership.

Let’s say that you don’t have ALL 4 of these unities.

In this case, you would own the property in “tenants in common.”

It would not be joint tenants with rights of survivorship (JTWROS).

Also, note that for joint tenants with rights of survivorship:

  • all tenants have to be on the property’s deed
  • only one tenant has to be on the mortgage (security deed)

What Does Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship Mean?

Joint tenants with rights of survivorship create rights of survivorship upon death.

When joint tenants die, their ownership interests automatically transfer to the other partner.

At the moment of the co-owner’s death, the following goes into effect:

  • rights of survivorship
  • responsibility for the mortgage and expenses
  • 100% ownership of the property

Joint tenants with rights of survivorship override a will.

Let’s say that, for the property:

  • the will passes the ownership interest to the heirs
  • the decedent has a joint tenant with rights of survivorship

The joint tenants with rights of survivorship will override the will.

The property will not have to go through probate in Georgia to determine this.

The surviving joint owner immediately gains the deceased owner’s:

  • interest in the property
  • mortgage responsibility

The last surviving joint tenant becomes the sole owner of the property.

They can:

  • live in the property
  • pass it to their heirs as they wish

Joint Tenancy Pros And Cons

These are the pros and cons of joint tenancy in Georgia.

Pros Of JTWROS

  • Property ownership transfers directly to the surviving tenant.
  • The property skips probate entirely.
  • Joint tenants have an equal ownership interest and equal rights.

A joint tenant with rights of survivorship is perfect for married couples.

It allows them to pass property directly to each other without probate.

Cons Of JTWROS

  • You have to pass the property on to the surviving tenant. You cannot pass it on to your beneficiaries.
  • A creditor can terminate a joint tenancy because of the tenant’s debt obligations.

There is a possibility that a creditor can come after

When one tenant dies, the property avoids probate and creditors.

But creditors can come after the tenant’s interest in the property while they are alive.

Joint Tenancy vs Tenancy In Common

Let’s look at the main differences between joint tenancy and tenancy in common.

Joint tenants must:

  • receive ownership interest at the same time
  • have an equal share of the property
  • have equal rights to the property

With a tenancy in common, owners:

  • can receive their ownership interest at any time (It doesn’t have to happen at the time of purchase.)
  • don’t have to have equal shares of the property

Joint Tenancy In Georgia

With joint tenancy in Georgia:

  • the property automatically passes to the surviving tenant
  • the “four unities” have to get met
  • tenants must have an equal interest in the property at the time of purchase
  • severance of the joint tenancy leads to tenants in common for the remaining tenants

You have the legal right to sell your ownership rights to your portion of the property.

But when you do, joint tenancy converts to tenants in common for the remaining owners.

And you will owe capital gains taxes on the share that you sell.

This form of ownership is the least messy with married couples and partners.

Tenancy In Common In Georgia

With tenants in common in Georgia:

  • tenants can leave their share of the property to whoever they want
  • equal interest and rights to the property are not required
  • owners do not have to acquire their shares of the property at the same time
  • tenants can sell their share of the property at any time

Tenants in common can create issues with inheritance.

The heirs may not understand operations or be aligned with the goals of the property.

This type of ownership can get messy.

How Do You Create a Joint Tenancy?

Let’s discuss how to create a joint tenancy with rights of survivorship.

You’ll need to declare their joint tenancy on the title document or deed of the property.

You need to:

  • list your full legal name on the title.
  • indicate that you are holding the property as “joint tenants with right of survivorship.”

Fill out the form on this page to get legal advice on creating joint tenants for your property.

You need to make sure that your deed has the correct legal language on it.

Our family law attorneys have experience setting these up for partners and spouses.

Our attorneys will set up a co-ownership agreement for you to hold the title in.

FAQs For Joint Tenants With Rights Of Survivorship In Georgia

Here are some questions that we get asked by our clients. 

How Do You Sever a Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship?

You can usually sever a joint tenancy in Georgia unilaterally.

This means you do not need the other tenant’s knowledge or permission.

The easiest way to sever your joint tenancy is to sell your rights to the property.

Let’s say that you own 50% of a property in joint tenancy in Georgia.

You can sell your 50% of the property.

This would sever the joint tenancy.

The ownership structure is automatically converted to tenants in common.

Some scenarios that joint tenancy can get severed are:

  • by means of partition
  • conveyance of one joint tenant
  • agreement of joint tenants
  • the murder of one of the tenants by the other
  • simultaneous death of both tenants

What If A Joint Tenant Wants To Sell Their Share?

You can sell your share of the property without the consent of the other tenants.

But doing so will cause the joint tenancy to dissolve.

The new ownership structure will be tenants in common.

This is because, for joint tenancy, all owners must acquire the property simultaneously.

But tenants in common can acquire the property at different times.

You can sell your share of the property to:

  • relatives
  • the other owners of the property
  • outside parties (i.e., investors)

When Do I Need Joint Tenancy In Georgia?

You need a joint tenancy in Georgia if you want to skip probate.

And if you want to pass your share of the property to the other owner.

This keeps the property out of reach of creditors.

Creditors will come after the property during the probate process.

Since the property avoids probate, creditors cannot touch it.

What Types Of Property Can Be Held In Joint Tenancy?

The types of property joint tenancy applies to may include:

  • real estate
  • bank accounts
  • cars
  • investments

Should A Married Couple Own Property In Joint Tenancy Or Tenants In Common?

Married couples should consider owning property in joint tenancy in Georgia.

This allows the surviving spouse to inherit the other spouse’s share of the property.

Then, they can choose to pass down the property to their heirs as they wish.

If you don’t have a will or joint tenancy, the property gets split per intestate laws in Georgia.

Meaning that the children and the surviving spouse get equal shares.

And the surviving spouse won’t get full ownership of the property.

How To Add A Spouse To A House Deed In Georgia

You can quit claim deed the property to add a spouse to a house deed in Georgia.

Fill out the form on this page and we can do this for you.

Setting Up Joint Tenants With Rights Of Survivorship In Georgia

Fill out the form on this page to set up joint tenancy or tenants in common.

We have the experience needed to ensure that your rights are protected.

This means that you don’t wrongfully lose assets to creditors.

We also make sure that the probate process is smooth and fair.

This means you don’t get raked over the coals financially.

After you fill out the form below, we will set up your free consultation.

Talk soon.

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