Right of survivorship means that if one of the coowners dies, the other person immediately gets the ownership without having to go to probate. If a ownership is without the "right of survivorship", then the portion owned by the deceased falls to the estate and must be handled via the will or the probate. For example, if two non-related people own property in joint tenancy without rights of survivorship then that portion of the property would go to the heirs when the estate is settled. On the other hand, right of survivorship would mean that the partner would get the property automatically. Note that technically Joint Tenancy could mean without the right of survivorship. One would have to check within the individual jurisdiction to determine if with or without is assumed if not stated explicitly. That is why it is always best to put it into the contract.
What Is the Difference Between Joint Tenancy & Tenants in Common?
Married couples should pay extra attention to the way they take title
when purchasing a home, since not every way has the right of
survivorship. The right of survivorship means that if one owner dies,
the other owner automatically owns the property without it having to
go to probate. According to Realty Times, only joint tenancy has the
right of survivorship. If a tenant in common dies, her whole estate,
including the home in which she owned a part, must be divided
according to the rules of the probate court.
The rules of Joint Tenant and Tenant in Common differ in how the individual portions of the property would be handled.
Joint tenancy is a type of homeownership where everyone on the title
has an undivided interest. For example, if a husband and wife are on
title to the house as joint tenants, they both own equal and undivided
shares of the property. According to Realty Times, one or more of the
joint tenants may destroy the joint tenancy by selling his ownership
position in the property to another party, resulting in a type of
ownership called tenants in common.
Tenants in Common
Tenants in common is a more informal method of taking title in which
each owner owns a specific percentage of the property. If there are
two owners on the title, each could own 50 percent of the property, or
one tenant in common could own a greater percentage than the other.
Realty Times states that if no form of ownership is specified when a
house is purchased, courts in the United States tend to assume the
intention was to be tenants in common.
Massachusetts has stated that a Joint Tenancy must be stated on the original purchase. Tenants in Common can purchase their segments at different times and using different deeds.