A concurrent interest, or concurrent estate, describes the various ways that two or more people can own a portion of real property at the same time.
The people who own this property together are called co-owners, co-tenants, or joint tenants. There are three main types of concurrent estates:
- Tenancy in common – with this type of interest, each co-owner holds the right to a fractional share of the entire property and each is entitled to possess and enjoy the entire property at the same time. A tenancy in common can be transferred during the owner’s lifetime or after death.
- Example: Bob gives property to Jane and Jack.
- Joint tenancy – this type of interest is similar to a tenancy in common in that it involves two or more people who each hold the right to a share of an entire piece of property. However, in a joint tenancy, if one co-owner dies before the other, then the surviving owner becomes the sole owner of the property. In this situation, the estate becomes a fee simple absolute.
- Example: Bob gives property to Jane and Jack as joint tenants, with the right of survivorship.
- Tenancy by the entirety – this type of interest has been abolished in many states today. It can only be created by joint tenancy of a husband and wife and can be terminated only by divorce, death of one spouse, or mutual agreement of both spouses.
- Example: Bob gives property to Jane and Jack (spouses), as tenants by the entirety.
Each co-tenant has an equal right to possession and enjoyment of the entire property regardless of the size of his or her share. Furthermore, any tenant in common or joint tenant may sue to end the concurrent estate at any time. Finally, when estate planning it is important to note that concurrent interests can be left in a will to a beneficiary.