In South Dakota, what is the difference between joint tenancy and tenancy in common?

If you obtained real estate in South Dakota during your marriage, your property is most likely owned as a joint tenancy with the right of survivorship. Under a joint tenancy with the right of survivorship, each owner effectively owns the whole asset. In other words, each owner shares ownership equally. If one owner dies, the other owner acquires the deceased owner’s interest automatically.

If you own real estate in South Dakota with someone other than your spouse, you usually have a tenancy in common. Under a tenancy in common, each owner holds his share of the asset outright. Under this ownership structure, there is no need for there to be “equality.” For example, you might own 60%, and your brother would then own 40%. If your brother dies, his interest in the property will  be distributed in accordance with the directions in his will. In other words, your brother’s interest does not pass automatically to you as the remaining tenant in common.

Scott Swier
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