Q: My boyfriend and I are buying a home together. We wish to own the home in unequal shares, since most of the money being used for the purchase belongs to him. Is there a way to title the property so that if he passes away, his share of the home will go to me and vice versa? His share is 70% and mine 30%. We are buying the home outright with cash, but since we have children together he wants to be sure that if one of us dies, the deceased shares will pass on to the other person on the deed. The attorney we spoke with said this “can’t be done”, that we would instead have to create Wills and leave each other our respective shares in the property, and that the titled would have to be held as “tenants in common”. (Mt. Lebanon, PA)
A: No, joint tenants cannot hold uneven shares. The idea with joint tenancy is the when one tenant passes, the survivor owns the whole share. Tenants-in-common can own uneven shares because when one dies, his or her share passes into his or her estate. Your options are to be tenants in common on the deed or have wills drafted that address the disposition of the property.