joint tenancy in colorado

Understanding Joint Tenancy in Colorado

Joint tenancy in Colorado is a form of property ownership where two or more individuals hold equal ownership interests in real property. When a property is owned as joint tenants, each owner has an undivided and equal share of the property. This means that if there are two joint tenants, each holds a 50% interest in the property.

Key elements of joint tenancy in Colorado include the “four unities”: unity of time, title, interest, and possession. These unities must be present for a joint tenancy to exist. Unity of time means that all joint tenants must acquire their interests in the property at the same time. A unity of title requires that all joint tenants acquire their interests through the same deed or instrument. Unity of interest ensures that each joint tenant holds an equal share of ownership. And unity of possession grants each tenant the right to possess the entire property.

One critical aspect of joint tenancy in Colorado is the right of survivorship. This means that if one joint tenant passes away, their ownership interest automatically transfers to the surviving joint tenant(s) without going through probate. The property does not become part of the deceased tenant’s estate but instead passes directly to the surviving owner(s). This feature is a significant advantage of joint tenancy. Allowing for the seamless transfer of property and avoiding the complexities of probate proceedings.

To create a joint tenancy in Colorado, the owners must explicitly state their intention to hold the property as joint tenants in the deed or title conveying the property. If the ownership fails to meet these four unities or lacks language indicating joint tenancy, it will default to a tenancy in common. In this scenario, each owner can pass on their share to heirs or designated beneficiaries.

However, it’s essential to note that joint tenancy can be terminated. If one joint tenant transfers or sells their interest in the property, it can sever the joint tenancy, converting it to a tenancy in common for the remaining owners. Additionally, joint tenants can mutually agree to terminate the joint tenancy.

While joint tenancy offers benefits like the right of survivorship, it’s crucial to consider potential drawbacks. Joint tenancy requires a high level of trust among co-owners, as any joint tenant can unilaterally sever the arrangement. Disputes among joint tenants, such as disagreements regarding property management or selling decisions, can also arise.

Overall, joint tenancy in Colorado provides a streamlined method for property transfer and can be a useful estate planning tool, but it requires careful consideration and clear communication among co-owners to ensure all parties understand their rights and responsibilities.

Have questions on whether holding property in joint tenancy is right for you? Please contact me for a more in-depth explanation.

Written by Norbert Lovato, Senior Attorney, at KM&D Law