Tenants In Common

How property and assets are distributed upon an individual’s passing is a matter of paramount importance.

One common way to arrange such matters is by designating Tenants in Common in a will.

Individuals with diverse property interests or blended families often employ this legal arrangement.

It provides a nuanced approach to inheritance worth exploring in detail.

What Is Tenants In Common?

Tenancy in Common (TIC) is a form of property ownership that can be established in a last will.

It allows individuals to specify their ownership interests in a property.

It also differs significantly from other forms of co-ownership.

These are Joint Tenancy or Community Property.

Key Features Of Tenants In Common In Wills

The key features are:

Individual Ownership Interests: 

In a Tenancy in Common arrangement, each co-owner has a distinct, individual ownership interest in the property. 

This means that, upon the death of one co-owner, their share of the property does not automatically transfer to the surviving co-owners.


TIC offers considerable flexibility in determining ownership percentages

Owners can specify unequal shares.

It can be especially useful when different financial contributions or family dynamics are involved.


Unlike other forms of co-ownership, TIC interests can be freely transferred or bequeathed in a will.

This means individuals can leave their share of the property to whomever they choose.

These are family members, friends, or charitable organizations.

Independent Decision-Making:

Co-owners in a Tenancy in Common can make independent decisions regarding their respective property shares.

These include selling or mortgaging their portion without requiring consent from the other co-owners.

Creditors’ Rights:

If one co-owner’s financial difficulties, creditors may place a lien on that co-owner’s share of the property.

This does not affect the ownership rights of the other co-owners, who can continue to use and enjoy the property.

Why Consider Tenants In Common In Your Will?

These are the important points to consider tenants in common in your will:

Complex Family Situations:

TIC is a valuable option for individuals in complex family structures.

It allows them to ensure that specific family members receive their intended share of the property without complications.

Unequal Financial Contributions:

If co-owners have invested differing amounts into the property, TIC allows them to reflect these contributions accurately in the distribution of assets.

Legacy Planning:

TIC in a will enables individuals to leave a lasting legacy.

This is by designating beneficiaries who may not be co-owners but have a meaningful connection to the property.

Drafting A Tenancy In Common Clause In Your Will

It is necessary to seek professional legal counsel to establish a Tenancy in Common arrangement in your will. 

An experienced estate planning attorney helps you craft precise language.

It complies with local laws and effectively conveys your wishes. 

Example – Sarah And John – Tenants In Common


Sarah and John have been close friends for many years and decided to invest in real estate together.

They’ve found a property they both like and want to own as tenants in common.

They each decide to include their share of the property in their respective wills to ensure their wishes are followed in case of their passing.


Sarah and John purchase a vacation cabin in the mountains as tenants in common.

They contribute equally to the purchase price, and their ownership shares are 50-50. In their respective wills:

Sarah’s Will:

Sarah wants to ensure that if she passes away, her cabin share goes to her niece, Emma.

She includes a provision in her will that states, “I bequeath my 50% interest in the vacation cabin located at [address] to my niece, Emma. I want her to enjoy the property and create beautiful memories, just as I did.”

John’s Will:

John also wants to specify his wishes regarding his share of the cabin.

In his will, he writes, “I leave my 50% ownership interest in the vacation cabin located at [address] to my daughter, Olivia. I hope she and her family can continue enjoying the cabin for generations.”

In this scenario, Sarah and John are common tenants, meaning they each own a separate 50% interest in the cabin.

They can specify in their wills who they want their share to go to when they pass away, allowing them to maintain control over the ultimate disposition of their ownership interests.