A wants to convert his fee simple into a joint tenancy with B.
i. Common Law View
This could not be accomplished by conveying “from
A to A and B” because the requirements of unity of
time and unity of title would not be satisfied.
Strawman transfers were the solution to this problem
at common law. A transfers to X who then transfers
to A and B jointly so that the unities of time and title
are not broken. Modern statutes allow a property owner to create a
joint tenancy in himself and another party without
the use of a strawman. Severance of a joint tenancy by destroying one of the unities leaves the parties as tenants in common. There are many ways to sever a joint tenancy. Inter vivos conveyance by one of the joint tenants to a third party destroys unity of title and time because the third party received the interest by a different instrument and at a different time than the remaining original joint tenant. The joint tenancy is severed and the third party is a tenant in common with the remaining original joint tenant. More Than Two Original Joint Tenants. A conveyance by one of the joint tenants to an outsider will result in a tenancy in common between the outsider and the remaining joint tenants, but the joint tenancy will stay intact as between the remaining original joint tenants. Example: A, B, and C are joint tenants. C transfers his interest to X. X now holds an undivided one-third interest in the property as a tenant in common with A and B, A and B hold the remaining two-thirds as joint tenants with the right of survivorship. If A dies, his interest is shifted to B.