Brief Fact Summary. Joint tenant conveyed property to herself as tenant in common without telling joint tenant.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A joint tenant can unilaterally sever the joint tenancy and create a tenancy in common by conveying the property to herself as a tenant in common.
The right of survivorship has been described as a mere expectancy that arises only upon success in the ultimate gamble--survival--and then only if the unity of the estate has not theretofore been destroyed by any action which operates to sever the joint tenancy.View Full Point of Law
Issue.Can a joint tenant unilaterally sever the joint tenancy with a conveyance of the property to herself as a tenant in common?
Discussion. The court discussed the old rule of requiring an intermediary “straw man” to sever a joint tenancy as archaic and cumbersome. The court ruled that a universal right of each joint tenant is the power to destroy the right of survivorship by conveyance of his or her joint tenancy interest to another person. If that other person is the joint tenant himself, so be it.