Joint Tenancy Issues in Ontario


Bob and Martha are brother and sister, they were left a house by their mother, as joint tenants.

Martha dies. Can you list the property right away, on Bob’s instructions?


In Ontario, there are actually eight (8) facts or sets of issues which can affect this question.

The severance of the joint tenancy is in issue. The answer would be “yes” if the property remains in joint tenancy, but if the joint tenancy were severed, then the ownership would become “tenants-in-common”. The result would be Bob owns 50%, and Martha’s estate owns 50%. So, the Estate Trustee of Marth would have to sign as well as Bob.

Exception #1

If either Bob or Martha became bankrupt during their lifetimes, then the joint tenancy would be severed. So, that’s a simple question to ask!

Exception #2

Assume Martha is married to Ronald. Under the Family Law Act, the joint tenancy in a matrimonial home with her brother Bob terminated immediately before death. At the time of death, they were deemed to hold the property as tenants-in-common.

This is an actual statutory severance of the joint tenancy.

If you wish to discuss issues related to property ownership, please contact me:

Brian R. Madigan, LL.B., Broker

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