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More than 1 individual may buy a piece of real estate

Often in the course of buying real estate, more than one individual may wish to purchase a property together. This certainly possible, but requires an understanding of how to legally share the title of the property. In Canada, there are two ways that this can be accomplished. More than one individual can purchase real estate, either through joint tenancy or as tenants-in-common.

For those who choose to employ joint tenancy, this means that all those who purchase the land will each hold the title to the property. In this case, the ownership is not divided. If two parties purchase a piece of property using joint tenancy, they both enjoy 100 per cent ownership of the land, instead of having a divided interest. Such a scenario might involve a married couple who chooses to purchase a home using joint tenancy. If one of the spouses passes away, the surviving spouse then enjoys sole 100 per cent ownership of the property, using the "right of survivorship" in joint tenancy.

Multiple individuals may also purchase property together as tenants-in-common. In a common tenancy scenario, individuals agree to each hold a portion of ownership. If, for instance, two brothers buy a property as a tenants-in-common transaction, each of them would only own 50 per cent of the property. Should one of them pass away, the surviving brother will not automatically assume 100 per cent ownership. Rather, ownership will have to be transferred through a will or designated by the courts if no will exists.

When it comes to real estate transactions, there are myriad ways that these matters can go sideways if they are not properly prepared and shepherded by someone with appropriate knowledge of the laws that govern titles. An experienced real estate lawyer can attend to all the details required to keep your real estate purchase legitimate and help dodge any potential pitfalls in the process.

Source: Find law Canada, "Title and ownership of property," accessed Oct. 25, 2016

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