Taking Title in Wyoming as Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship
"The Language of Real Estate" by John W. Reilly (2006, by Dearborn Financial Publishing, Inc) was used as the main source for this article. This book devotes three pages alone to explaining this concept. It is not simple. I provide only the basic elements below. If you have any questions about entering into a Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship or if you may be buying someone else's share in a Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship, consult an attorney. I am NOT an attorney.
Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship (JTWROS) is created when two or more parties take ownership of real estate, all owning equal shares. Title is held as though all owners collectively constitute one person. The death of one Joint Tenant does not destroy the owning unit - it only reduces by one the number of persons who jointly own the unit. The remaining joint tenant(s) receive the deceased tenant's interest by the right of survivorship. Thus the interest of the decedent (dead person) cannot be transferred by will or descent. The last survivor of a JTWROS will take title as Sole Owner, after which time the estate can then be fully inheritable to whomever the new sole owner wishes.
Taking title by Joint Tenancy can only be done on purpose by the parties joining in the Joint Tenancy. That means it can't be implied from a certain set of circumstances or created by default. Four unities are required:
- Unity of Title (acquired by one deed)
- Unity of Time (executed and delivered at one time)
- Unity of Interest (equal interest to all the grantees)
- Unity of Possession (undivided, "as a whole")
Even though a person in a Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship cannot will or otherwise designate ownership of their interest in the event of their death, they can sell their share of the Joint Tenancy while they are alive. The new owner(s), however, will not be part of the original JTWROS but will probably hold interest as a Tenant in Common, giving them different ownership interests that will apply to their share.
Joint Tenancy can be straightforward or it can be very complex. Only an attorney can advise whether or not Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship might work for you.