Joint Tenancy – Special California Exception

Remember Property 101?  There are four unities re: joint tenancy:  unity of possession, interest, time and title.  As a rule, if any of these 4 unities is missing then the joint tenancy becomes a tenancy in common.  So, if A and B own property at JT’s and B transfers to C then A and C own the property as 50% TIC.

But — California has a statutory exception when someone who owns property by themselves wants to create a JT with others.

For example, Amy owns Blackacre.  When her kids became adults, Amy wanted to create a joint tenancy with them.  She is allowed to deed the property to them and name herself as joint tenants.  It will look like this — “Amy, as sole owner, hereby grants Blackacre to Amy (herself), Mary and Joe as joint tenants.”  Under California’s statutory exception — this new deed satisfies the unity of time and title even though Amy acquired the property many years ago through a different deed.  

Post by: Bankruptcy Attorney, Sevan Gorginian, Esq.


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