Survivorship Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Survivorship, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Survivorship?

1\. The automatic transfer of the title or the ownership of property or asset in case of death or non-existence of the other person in joint tenancy. 2. The situation where joint holdings of assets or joint tenacy of real estates, when one co-owner outlives the the other(or one owner ceases to live), the title,right or the ownership of that real estate or assets ( like bank account) is transferred to the existing co-owner or survivor of the joint tenacy.

History and Meaning of Survivorship

The term "survivorship" is commonly used in estate planning and property law. It refers to the situation where jointly owned property automatically transfers to the surviving owner when the other owner dies. Survivorship is often used in joint tenancy agreements where multiple parties own property, such as real estate or bank accounts.

The concept of survivorship can be traced back to English common law, where it was used to determine the inheritance of land among joint tenants. The idea was that when one tenant died, their interest in the land automatically passed to the surviving tenants.

Today, survivorship is used in a variety of legal contexts beyond just real estate, including joint bank accounts and investment accounts. It can also be a factor in determining inheritance and estate planning, as it can impact whether property passes to the surviving owner or to the deceased owner's heirs.

Examples of Survivorship

  1. John and Sarah own a house together as joint tenants with survivorship rights. When John dies, the ownership of the house automatically transfers to Sarah, without the need for probate or a will.

  2. A married couple has a joint bank account with survivorship rights. When one spouse dies, the ownership of the account passes to the surviving spouse, who can continue to access the funds without going through probate.

  3. A group of investors own a parcel of land together as joint tenants with survivorship rights. When one investor dies, their share of the land is automatically split among the surviving tenants based on their percentage of ownership.

Legal Terms Similar to Survivorship

  1. Tenancy by the entirety - a form of joint property ownership used by married couples that also includes survivorship rights.

  2. Community property - a form of property ownership used in some states that splits all property acquired during a marriage 50/50, with each spouse having survivorship rights to the other's half.

  3. Right of survivorship deed - a legal document used to transfer ownership of real estate with survivorship rights to the new owners.