When it comes to the titling of real estate owned by individuals (especially concerning residential properties), the joint tenancy with right of survivorship is an important planning tool. By way of example, for properties owned by a husband and wife, the deed must state that the property is being conveyed to them for their joint lives, with the “remainder” going to the survivor of the two. In essence, upon the death of either spouse, the decedent’s interest vests in the survivor, as a matter of law.
Interestingly, this type of survivorship tenancy may also be created for leasehold interests or a land contract purchaser’s interest. As with other survivorship rights, the passage of the interest by operation of law largely avoids it being included in the decedent’s probate process.