Two or more people can own property as Joint Tenants or as Tenants in Common. Your Notary will ask you to choose one of those two forms of co-ownership when you are transferring a property into your names. So what is the difference?
In a joint tenancy, each co-owner must own an equal interest (1/2 each in the case of two joint tenant owners, 1/3 each in the case of 3 joint tenant owners, etc.) in the property. The essential feature of joint tenancy is the right of survivorship. It means that when one joint tenant dies, his or her interest in the property automatically ceases to exist at the instant of his death and vests unto the other joint tenant(s). Therefore, joint tenants cannot leave their interests to anyone in their Wills. This type of ownership is the most common for married or common law couples.
In a tenancy in common, each co-owner may have unequal interests (i.e., 30/100 or 70/100). As a tenant in common, there is no right of survivorship and therefore your interest in the property does not transfer to the other co-owner(s) upon your death. Rather, it is distributed according to your Will. Therefore it is very important to have your estate plan in order. This type of ownership is the most common with business or investment partners.