Learn about owning real property with another person

What are probate fees and can I reduce them?
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Learn about owning real property with another person

You can own real property with other people. Real property is also called real estate and it includes land, houses, or other buildings.

There are 2 ways to own real property with other people:

Joint tenancy

If you own property in joint tenancy, when you die your share usually goes directly to the other person. It does not become part of your estate and it is not included when calculating probate fees.

Married or common-law couples

Married or common-law couples often own their home as joint tenants. This means that when one partner dies, the surviving partner owns the home.

But if the couple was legally married, it might not matter if the home was owned as joint tenants. This is because the surviving spouse can choose to get an equalization payment instead of receiving what was left to them under a will or the intestacy rules. The question "We're married. What happens to my partner's property if they die?" has more information on these options.

Adult children

Some people put one or more of their adult children on title to their home as joint tenants as a way to reduce probate fees. This can cause problems.

For example, putting only one of several children on title might start a family feud. And, if your adult child didn't pay you for their interest in the property, they may have to prove that you meant to gift it to them. Otherwise the court might find that your adult child holds the property for the benefit of all the children.

Putting your adult child on title also means that you will lose full control of your property. For example, if you want to sell the property, your child on title will have to agree.

Tenants-in-common

If you own real property with someone else as tenants-in-common, each person's share is listed on the title to the property. It could be 50% each or some other percentage.

When you die your share of the property usually becomes part of your estate to be distributed based on your will or the intestacy rules. And, the value of your share is included when calculating probate fees.

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Ontario Securities Commission
Reviewed: October 31, 2019

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