DEFINITION of 'With Benefit Of Survivorship'

A form of joint tenancy ownership where property passes to the survivor(s) when one of the joint members dies, rather than becoming part of the decedent's estate. With benefit of survivorship is a legally defined situation where two or more individuals jointly own property, such as a home, and where the ownership is retained by other joint owners in the event that one of the owners dies. Joint tenants with right of survivorship (JTWROS) is an example of a type of joint tenancy arrangement where all survivors share the assets upon the death of one of the tenants.

BREAKING DOWN 'With Benefit Of Survivorship'

An important characteristic of joint tenancies is the destructibility of the survivorship feature by one of the joint tenants during his or her lifetime, with or without the consent of other joint tenants. For example, two people may enter a joint tenancy agreement with right of survivorship for the purchase of a home. If one of the tenants dies, his or her undivided share of the home would automatically go to the remaining tenant through survivorship. If, however, one of the tenants transfers his interest in the home to someone else (for example, a niece), the joint tenancy would be severed and the home would then we held as a tenancy in common.

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