Most people are aware that they own their property ‘in joint names’, but do you know exactly how your jointly held property is owned? There are in fact two ways that you can own property with another person in Queensland and it makes a big difference to how that property will pass on your death. Importantly, the outcome may not be what you intend.
If you own your property as joint tenants with another person, when you pass away your share in the property will not form part of your Estate. This means that your interest in the property will not pass to the beneficiaries that you have named in your Will, but will instead pass automatically to the surviving joint tenant outside of the terms of your Will (and if more than one, then equally).
If you own your property jointly with another person as tenants in common, your respective shares in the property will be recorded on the title. For example, you might hold a 30/100 share in the property and the other owner might hold the remaining 70/100 share in the property as tenants in common.
On your death, your share in the property will pass to the beneficiaries that you have named in your Will. If this person is not the joint owner, they will then have to agree on what to do with the property (e.g. sell it, rent it out, allow one or both to stay in the property, etc).
Which Option is Right For You?
So should you hold your property as joint tenants or as tenants in common? This will depend on what your overall Estate Planning intentions are, and should never be looked at in isolation.