What is a 'Joint'

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


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.

Examples of Joint

Joint, as a term, can be used in a variety of situations, including: 

  • joint accounts, where two or more parties share a single account, such as a bank or brokerage account. In this case, the law considers both parties to be equal owners, no matter who started the account or who contributes more money. Co-owners can spend or transfer funds to other accounts without the consent of the other account holder. Most joint accounts have rights of survivorship, which means that if one account holder dies, the other will automatically retain rights to the account funds.
  • joint tenancies, where two or more parties share equal shares of ownership in property with the same deed at the same time. This type of holding title is most common between husbands and wives and among family members, since there are rights of survivorship, similar to joint accounts. This differs from a tenancy in common, whereby tenants may have different shares of ownership, which may be obtained at different times.
  • joint annuities, such as joint and survivor annuities, insurance products that continue regular payments as long as one of the annuitants is alive. A joint and survivor annuity must have two or more annuitants. This is usually a wise choice for married couples who want to guarantee that, in the case of death, the surviving spouse receives regular income for life, though monthly payments are typically reduced by one-third or one-half for the surviving annuitant. 
  • joint ventures, where two unaffiliated companies contribute financial and/or physical assets, as well as personnel, to a new company. Although joint ventures are generally thought of as partnerships, they can take on any legal structure. Corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs) and other business entities can all be involved in joint ventures, the agreements of which take into account: the number of parties involved, the scope in which the joint venture will operate, the terms of each party’s role and contribution, the ownership split, and how the joint ventures will be administered, managed and staffed.
  1. Joint Owned Property

    Joint property is any property held in the name of two or more ...
  2. With Benefit of Survivorship

    With benefit of survivorship describes a situation in which ownership ...
  3. Joint Liability

    Joint liability denotes the obligation of two or more partners ...
  4. Joint Tenancy

    Joint tenancy is a situation where two or more people own a property ...
  5. Tenancy In Common

    Tenancy in common is a way for two or more people to maintain ...
  6. Tenancy By The Entirety

    A type of concurrent estate in real property that is unique in ...
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    5 Common Methods of Holding Titles on Real Property

    Understand the common methods of holding title to real estate property so you can decide which method best meets your needs.
  2. Personal Finance

    Togetherness or Trouble? Simple’s New Shared Bank Account

    A new type of online joint account lets couples and other duos share their financial lives – as little or as much as they want.
  3. Insights

    Virtual Joint Venture: A New Model For US Businesses to Enter China?

    Learn about virtual joint ventures and how these agreements may promote the entrance of American companies into China's vast markets.
  4. Retirement

    Deciphering Deferred Annuity Designations

    Tax deferred annuities can be complex arrangements. Discover some of the situations that arise when an owner or annuitant dies and how to reduce tax liability if you're the beneficiary.
  5. Retirement

    Tips to Reduce or Avoid Probate on Your Estate

    Avoid or reduce the delays and costs of probate for your estate with these tips.
  1. What are the primary disadvantages of forming a joint venture?

    Learn the disadvantages to forming and maintaining a joint venture partnership, including factors business owners should ... Read Answer >>
  2. What are the primary advantages of forming a joint venture?

    Understand what the advantages of a joint venture are and discover what make this business strategy a good alternative to ... Read Answer >>
  3. Do joint ventures need an exit strategy?

    Understand why an exit strategy is important for a business partnership such as a joint venture, and learn the options partners ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Financial Risk

    Financial risk is the possibility that shareholders will lose money when investing in a company if its cash flow fails to ...
  2. Enterprise Value (EV)

    Enterprise Value (EV) is a measure of a company's total value, often used as a more comprehensive alternative to equity market ...
  3. Relative Strength Index - RSI

    Relative Strength Indicator (RSI) is a technical momentum indicator that compares the magnitude of recent gains to recent ...
  4. Dividend

    A dividend is a distribution of a portion of a company's earnings, decided by the board of directors, to a class of its shareholders.
  5. Inventory Turnover

    Inventory turnover is a ratio showing how many times a company has sold and replaces inventory over a period.
  6. Watchlist

    A watchlist is list of securities being monitored for potential trading or investing opportunities.
Trading Center