Surrey Joint Ownership Agreements Lawyer

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Surrey Joint Ownership Agreements Lawyer | Christ & Co Law Corporation

Buying a home with your spouse can be a stressful enough experience.  But what if you buy a home with other family members.  With today’s high cost of home ownership, it is becoming more common for multiple families to pool their resources and buy one home and live together.  However, common ownership is not without its own challenges.  We can help you navigate those challenges and explain issues associated with joint ownership in a manner that is easy to understand and draft legal documents to protect the rights of the owners in case of a dispute.

Differences in owning real property as Joint Tenants or Tenants In Common:

There are two ways to own real property in BC.  One is as joint tenants and the other is tenants in common.

Joint tenants must own the property in equal shares and upon the death of an owner, the surviving owner automatically owns the deceased owner’s share.  If there is more than one surviving owner, as between the survivors, they will equally share the deceased owner’s interest.  This is generally the recommended method of ownership for spouses as it avoids having to probate your partner’s estate to

For tenants in common, ownership in the property can be unequal and upon the death of an owner, the deceased owner’s share will be inherited in accordance with the deceased’s owner will or if there is no will, in accordance with the intestacy provisions of the Wills, Estates and Succession Act of BC.

Joint Ownership Agreements:

Regardless of the type of ownership, an agreement between the owners can save a lot of headaches for the future.  A joint ownership agreement can address the following issues in regards to the property:

  1. How to deal with the allocation and payment of expenses.  An agreement can allow the owners to allocate expenses in a manner different from the percentage of ownership;
  2. What if an owner wants to sell their shares?  Typically referred to as a right of first refusal, the other owners are given the right to purchase the selling owner’s share before they can sell to a third party.
  3. What happens to an owner’s share if they pass away?  The agreement can have provisions so that the deceased owner’s estate must first offer the deceased owner’s share to the surviving owners.  Without such a provision, the deceased owner’s shares will pass to their heirs and the surviving owners may not wish to be partners with the heirs.  Also, in order to not financially burden the surviving owners, the agreement can contain a provision that each owner must have life insurance so that funds are available to buyout the deceased owner’s share at a fair value.

What if there is a marital breakdown affecting an owner?  The agreement can address this issue so that the property is not in jeopardy from contentious litigation.

Determination of fair market value.  In the case where an owner’s share is being purchased by the other owners, the agreement can contain a clause setting out a how to determine the fair market value of the property so that it is fair to all of the owners.

What happens if an owner defaults in performing their obligations in the agreement?  Common examples of defaults are not contributing towards expenses or mortgage payments, not maintaining the property or causing damage to the property.  An agreement can address this issue by having a penalty clause which generally discourages owners from defaulting under the agreement.

Legal Costs for a Joint Ownership Agreement:

Joint ownership agreements can be complex legal documents as there are many issues that can arise that need to be addressed.  We offer competitive rates and just as importantly, responsive and timely legal advice to you.

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