DEFINITION of 'Joint'

A legal term describing a transaction or agreement where two or more parties act in unison.

Joint can refer to a variety of situations, including:
- joint accounts, where two or more parties share a single account, such as a bank or brokerage account
- joint tenancies, where two or more parties share ownership in real property, such as joint tenants in common or tenancy by the entirety (a type of joint tenancy that exists only between a husband and wife)
- annuities, such as joint and survivor annuities, insurance products that continue regular payments as long as one of the annuitants is alive, and
- joint ventures, where two unaffiliated companies contribute financial and/or physical assets, as well as personnel, to a new company.

BREAKING DOWN 'Joint'

In addition to pertaining to accounts or ownership in real property, joint can also refer to liability. Joint liability exists in situations where two or more people share the burden of a debt. For example, if a husband and wife have joint liability for a debt, each is responsible for the entire amount of the debt. Several liability, on the other hand, would limit liability to each person's respective obligations.

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