Real estate broker giving house key to millennial couple after signing property agreement at table

How are you on title to your property?

For many, purchasing a home is the most significant investment they will make in their lives. It is essential to be informed and aware of the legal implications of purchasing real property.

When purchasing a property, your lawyer will ask you how you would like to take ownership. How you take ownership has significant implications on how the property is managed and distributed after your death.

There are three ways that a homeowner can take title to a home, which significantly impacts the deceased’s estate and heirs.

You may be the sole registered owner, a joint tenant, or a tenant in common with one or more individuals.

Sole Owner

If there is only one individual owner, the property will pass to the estate of the sole owner upon death. If the deceased owner has a will, the house will distribute according to the will. If the deceased owner did not have a will, the house will be dealt with as an estate asset and distributed according to the Succession Law Reform Act. 

What is Joint Tenancy?

Joint tenancy is a form of co-ownership where each joint tenant holds an undivided interest in the entire property.

A distinguishing feature of joint tenancy is the right of survivorship. That is, when one joint tenant dies, the deceased’s interest in the property automatically passes to the surviving joint tenant(s). As a result, property held in joint tenancy does not pass through the deceased’s will and therefore is not subject to probate fees.

Joint tenancy is a common form of ownership when spouses purchase property. The right of survivorship allows the deceased spouses respective share to go directly to the surviving spouse on their death.

What is Tenancy in Common?

Contrary to a joint tenancy, a key distinguishing feature of a tenant in common is that the tenant in common’s interest is not subject to the right of survivorship; their interest passes through their estate. In a tenancy in common, each owner has a divided percentage interest in ownership of the property. If the percentage is not specified, each tenant in common has an equal share.

If you are looking to purchase a property or require advice regarding the legal implications of the various types of ownership, contact us at Willing Law at or (519) 980-3476.