Joint Tenancy without the “Statement of Intention” can be Costly

There was an interesting case which recently came before the Ontario Court of Appeal for consideration.

At issue was the question of whether or not the individual intended “joint tenancy”.

If the answer was “yes”, then the surviving joint tenant received the property. If the answer was “no”, then the property went to the estate.

The Court concluded in Jansen v. Niels Estate (2017) that the Judge who decided the case in the first place was correct and joint tenancy was indeed “intended”

An appeal to the Court of Appeal is extremely expensive!

For a number of years, since Pecore v. Pecore and Madsen Estate v. Saylor, both cases decided by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2007, lawyers have been preparing a “Statement of Intention”. There’s nothing complicated about it, the document simply indicates that the person truly intends the joint tenant to have the property as their own personally. It wasn’t a transfer “in trust” for others.

In this case, eventually, the Court figured it all out but a simple “Statement of Intention” would likely have eliminated all the litigation.

Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker

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