In BC, property that is owned by two or more people can be held in either “joint tenancy” or in “tenancy in common”. There are several considerations to take into account when deciding which route to go, however a primary consideration in that decision is that with joint tenancy, the property can be transferred to the survivor without requiring a grant of probate if one owner passes away. For more information on the differences, see our blog titled “Joint Tenancy vs. Tenancy in Common – What you need to know when purchasing a home” here: http://touchstonelawgroup.com/kelowna-lawyers/joint-tenancy-vs-tenancy-common-need-know-purchasing-home/.
When one joint tenant passes away, the survivor is often left wondering what to do. It is necessary to file paperwork with the BC Land Title and Survey Authority (the “LTSA”) in order to transfer the title from both parties to the surviving joint tenant. This is called a “transmission to surviving joint tenant” and must be done before the survivor can sell the property.
Generally, this transmission requires that the lawyer attending to the transmission view the original death certificate, then file the appropriate LTSA form with a copy of the death certificate attached and the Property Transfer Tax Return form with the LTSA. Once submitted, the LTSA processes the transmission, which generally takes between 10 days to two weeks, and occasionally more. Once the transmission is finalized, the deceased’s owner’s name will be removed from title and the surviving joint tenant will be the sole owner.
Note that while the Property Transfer Tax Return form needs to be filed, this transmission is exempt from Property Transfer Tax so no tax will be payable by the surviving joint tenant.
If you wish to sell a property that you owned in joint tenancy with someone who has passed away, it is important to take into account this two-plus week timeline. It is a good idea to contact a lawyer as soon as possible to start the transfer process to ensure that there will be no unnecessary hold-ups when the perfect purchaser comes along.
If you need to transfer a property from joint tenancy to the surviving joint tenant, or have any other questions about this matter, please do not hesitate to reach out to our office at (250) 448-2637.
This information is general in nature only. You should consult a lawyer before acting on any of this information. This information should not be considered as legal advice. To learn more about your legal needs, please contact our office at (250) 448-2637 or any of our lawyers practicing in the area of real estate law at the following:Una Gabie: firstname.lastname@example.org Jennette Vopicka: email@example.com Danielle (Dani) Brito: firstname.lastname@example.org Jane Otterstrom: email@example.com