Severing a Joint Tenancy
There are two ways that couples can own real estate, either as “joint tenants” or “tenants in common”. When couples separate they may need to consider what arrangements are in place.
Owning real estate as “joint tenants” means that if one of the parties dies then their half interest in the property automatically passes to the other owner regardless of the provision in their Will.
If someone holds an interest as “tenants in common” and they die, then the future ownership of their entitlement will be determined in accordance with their Will.
Most couples hold property as “joint tenants”, therefore if separation occurs people may wish to look at severing the joint tenancy. This is a straight-forward process that then creates a “tenants in common” ownership. To do this, the consent of the other party is not necessary.
Severing the joint tenancy does not attract stamp duty. It is a process that goes through the Titles Office.
However, we note that severing a joint tenancy is not for everyone and may create hostilities between parties that inflame other matters and lead to delays in finalising or settling a property settlement. It is therefore important to obtain specialist Family law advice in considering your circumstances and whether it is appropriate and to help you establish a plan.
We offer a fixed fee, no obligation initial consultation. Please contact us on (07) 3221 4300 to arrange an appointment.