Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship (JTWROS)
What it is:
Joint tenants with right of survivorship (JTWROS) is a type of ownership in which all joint owners have equal portions of ownership that are immediately allocated to remaining owners if one owner dies.
How it works (Example):
Also called tenancy by entirety, property owned jointly with the right of survivorship is wholly owned by all living owners. In other words, unlike joint tenants in common (JTIC), any given owner's ownership percentage does not posthumously become part his estate. Rather, the ownership portion is distributed among the surviving owners and does not pass to heirs of the deceased by will or probate.
For example, suppose Bob and Jack own a seaside holiday apartment jointly with rights of survivorship. If Jack dies, Bob automatically becomes the sole owner of the apartment.
Why it Matters:
Joint tenants with right of survivorship should not be confused with joint tenants in common (JTIC), wherein the portion of a deceased owner does not transfer automatically to remaining owners. Note that even though a deceased owner's portion instantly passes to surviving owners under JTWROS, its individual value may be subject to inheritance taxes.