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Copyright (c) 1991 North Carolina Law Review
North Carolina Law Review

ARTICLE: THE JOINT TENANCY MAKES A COMEBACK IN NORTH CAROLINA.

JANUARY, 1991

69 N.C.L. Rev. 491

Author

JOHN V. ORTH *

Excerpt

In its 1989-90 legislative session the General Assembly of North Carolina restored the right of survivorship to the ancient concurrent estate of joint tenancy, a right that had been abolished by legislation more than two centuries ago. The new statute, effective January 1, 1991, permits the creation of a joint tenancy with right of survivorship "if the instrument creating the joint tenancy expressly provides for a right of survivorship." 1 Other provisions restate the common law concerning the effect of a conveyance by one joint tenant. If there are three or more joint tenants, a conveyance by one severs the estate as to the conveyed interest, making the conveyee a tenant in common with the others, who remain joint tenants as between themselves. 2 If there are two joint tenants, a conveyance by one severs the estate altogether, leaving the concurrent owners as tenants in common. Left unanswered by the new statute is the question whether the common law requirement of "four unities" -- time, title, interest, and possession -- remains essential for the creation of the joint tenancy with right of survivorship in North Carolina. 3

This Article will briefly survey the history of joint tenancy in North Carolina, noting the means by which something like a right of survivorship was recognized prior to the present statute. It will then examine the new statute and raise two questions about its application, one which may be answered by sympathetic judicial construction, the ...
 
 
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