As demonstrated by Gruen v. Gruen and the estates/future interest materials above, “ownership” can be divided temporally between present and future rights to possession. Ownership (whether present or future) can also be divided between multiple individuals holding the interest at the same time. Three primary forms of concurrent ownership typically covered in a 1L Property course are (i) tenancy in common; (ii) joint tenancy; and (iii) tenancy by the entireties. The forms are similar in several ways, but each also carries its own set of distinct legal rules and consequences.
A conveyance from “O to A and B as tenants in common” – and in many states, a conveyance simply from “O to A and B” without more – creates a tenancy in common. A and B thereafter each have the right to possess the whole of the property. Similarly, if the property is leased or otherwise produces revenue (e.g., mineral interests), the parties split the proceeds in accordance with their fractional shares. Obviously, this form of ownership depends a great deal upon the parties’ ability to agree over matters relating to the property. Unlike a joint tenancy, rights as a tenant in common are devisable/inheritable.