Interests in land may be fragmented under the doctrine of estates. Furthermore, as a will cannot take effect until the death of a joint tenant, it will be too late to sever the joint tenancy. Where there was no male heir but numerous female heirs, the female heirs would inherent the land as coparceners, that is, as co-owners. The functioning of these deeming provisions is somewhat unclear because of the words ‘persons who are registered as joint proprietors’. This made conveyancing and the investigation of title by purchasers easier and, importantly, it enabled a swifter and more efficient collection of feudal dues. In order to resolve this uncertainty, the land titles office in most states requires co-owners to specifically state the character of their co-ownership upon the land transfer documents. There are two principal forms of co-ownership, namely joint tenancy and tenancy in common. The relationship is a tenancy in common because there is no unity of interest. B conveys his interest to D, severing the joint tenancy with C. The new owners of the land are C and D. The relationship between C and D is a tenancy in common because there is no unity of title or time. CHAPTER   16 The fact that the deceased joint tenant has devised her estate is irrelevant; the interest of a joint tenant is no more capable of devolution by will than it is capable of devolving upon an intestacy. When someone who owns real property dies, the property goes into probate or it automatically passes, by operation of law, to surviving co-owners. Fragmentation under the doctrine of estates is based upon time: freehold estates exist indefinitely, whilst non-freehold estates must exist for a specified period of time. Legislation in New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory sets out that any disposition of a beneficial interest in property, whether with or without the legal estate, to two or more persons will be deemed to operate as a tenancy in common.6. All solely owned property becomes a part of the owner’s gross estate and upon death, passes to named beneficiaries under a will or to heirs according to Kansas intestate laws (where there is no will). This made conveyancing and the investigation of title by purchasers easier and, importantly, it enabled a swifter and more efficient collection of feudal dues. Often, surviving co-owners do nothing with the title for as long as they own the property. The courts presume that each was to enjoy the property, in shares proportionate to his contribution. In order to resolve this uncertainty, the land titles office in most states requires co-owners to specifically state the character of their co-ownership upon the land transfer documents. The relationship is a tenancy in common because there is no unity of interest. For example, the owner of land may hold a fee simple reversion in the land whilst a third party retains a leasehold interest. On sale, the sale proceeds are divided equally. The methods by which a joint tenancy may be severed will be further examined in para 16.5. The ownership must be created at the same time without specifying any share. The presumption can also be rebutted in where there is a prior relationship between the parties, by which one owes duties and obligations to the other. Whilst the two dominant forms of co-owner relationships are the joint tenancy and the tenancy in common, other miscellaneous forms of mutual ownership have existed. Land cannot be regarded as co-owned just because a range of people claim different interests over the same land. Vested interest is a term which simply means a person has some right to the property. The existence of coparcenary diminished significantly with the abolition of the old common law ‘descent to the heir’ rules.7. Possession in this sense does not refer to exclusive possession of a particular part of the land but, rather, a general right along with all other co-owners to occupy, use and enjoy the entirety of the land. Each co-owner may hold an identical share in the estate or an aliquot part of the estate representing the amount of money they have individually contributed to the property. However, it is possible and indeed very common to have tenants in common in equal shares. Upon B’s subsequent death, C will be seised of the entire estate and, as no mutual ownership continues, the joint tenancy will cease. Co-Ownership Rights Under both tenancy in common and joint tenancy forms of ownership, each owner has an equal right to occupy the whole property and cannot exclude the other owners from the property. Unity of time requires interests to have been granted and to vest at the same time; if one co-owner receives the same interest from the same document as the other co-owners, but the vesting of that interest is conditional upon the happening of an event, then no joint tenancy can exist, because there is no unity of time between the interests. Co-ownership is not concerned with different types of estates and interests but rather with ownership of a single estate or interest by two or more persons. (c)   Unity of title Apart from this, a co-owner may ultimately apply to the court for an order for sale, if his co-owners act unreasonably. The relationship is a tenancy in common because the contingent remainder interests of C and D vested at different times. A joint tenancy is a form of co-ownership where each co-owner holds a part of the entire estate but not a separate, proportionate share. Any co-owner is entitled to enjoy the whole of the property. The interest which is relevant is that which is the subject of the actual co-ownership. Co-owners sometimes owe each other fiduciary duties by reason of being partners, so that that they have to account to each other for benefits from sole use of the property. Anything which in the slightest degree indicates an intention to divide the property must be held to abrogate the idea of a joint tenancy, and to create a tenancy in common. There are two fundamental types of co-ownership: the joint tenancy and the tenancy in common. The functioning of these deeming provisions is somewhat unclear because of the words ‘persons who are registered as joint proprietors’. Hence, an estate in land may be legal in nature or, where it is not recognised by the common law, it may be equitable in nature. For example, A, B and C are joint tenants of a fee simple estate and A subsequently dies. For example, if X conveys her fee simple estate to A and B jointly, a co-ownership relationship between A and B exists. Furthermore, X could not pass a valid lease to B where she has already passed a life estate to A; X has no possession to confer to B. In contrast, under English Law, it is possible to have a maximum of four legal owners. 16.2.6   Other forms of co-ownership: coparcenary However, severance may also be found where there isn’t an agreement to sever. The determination of what form of co-ownership exists and whether it remains in existence is extremely important, because this can greatly affect the outcome of a co-owner … Each joint tenant is seised of the whole of the land, but cannot be regarded as holding an independent share. A, B and C were seised of the entire estate together and, upon A’s death, B and C remain seised of the entire estate. (d)   Unity of time Once it is established that a mutual right of possession exists in a number of persons, the important issue to determine will be what form of co-owner relationship exists. (d)   Example 4—B and C are joint tenants. Hence, the rights of several beneficiaries under a trust to the ownership of land cannot be described in terms of a co-owner relationship, because the beneficiaries are not entitled to an immediate right of possession. Where the deaths of two joint tenants occur in circumstances which render the order of death uncertain, legislation in Victoria resolves this difficulty by presuming the deaths to have occurred in the order of seniority, and accordingly, the younger shall be deemed to have survived the elder.2, Due to the general uncertainty surrounding death, the right of survivorship confers no special privilege on any particular co-owner. 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