In Singapore, there are two forms of co-ownership for residential property.

(1) Joint Tenancy [right to survivorship]

Two or more parties have rights to the land as if they were a single owner. It also implies the right to survivorship i.e. when one party dies, his or her share automatically passes on to the other parties, over-riding any disposition by a Will or the rules on intestacy, and the process continues until the sole survivor becomes the absolute owner.

(2) Tenancy-In-Common [no right of survivorship]

Unlike joint tenancy, interests in this form of co-ownership contain no right of survivorship, where land is held by two or more persons but “words of severance” are used in the grant to show their intention to hold separate (even if they are equal) shares in the land.As such, if you are the sole owner or having a Tenancy-In-Common Ownership, it is important to have a Will indicating the property distribution.

When you buy a property with your friends and/or relatives, besides discussing on the shares, it is also vital to determine the exit strategy of the investment property prior to entering into a co-ownership contract.

By Eileen Tan and Ui Wei Teck, property investors and authors of Enjoying Mid-Life Without Crisis. This tip and dozens more are from their book.

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