Legal: Joint Tenancy & Tenancy -in-common Contracts« Back to Questions List

What is the difference between the 2 types of contracts? Why is it important to understand the difference?
Posted by Admin
Asked on 05/14/2019 12:51 pm

Assets play a very important part of life. It is even more important as an issue, as when ageing or when in the final stages of life, how assets like a home is going to be dealt with. As an issue it is important as there are often surviving elderly spouse & maybe, cash strapped children. A elderly spouse who may have lived together with the deceased in that home for the last 40 year. He/she may like to live out the rest of his/her natural life in that home which has been fully paid for.

But then again, if there maybe step children, or surviving parents of the deceased, other liabilities. Some complications can be problematic, for example, if the deceased had intended for some of the proceeds of sale to go to other parties other than the surviving spouse. It may be that the surviving spouse is financially well off & can in fact, sell up & move on. It may be there is an illegitimate child born out of wedlock. There may be financial liabilities incurred that have been charged to property, example, debt. Families are complex. These are tricky & are issues best given lots of thought.

A will is often the document that can be useful in probate but often, even with a will, disputes can occur especially when wills are not updated. As humans, wills reflect intention at that moment in time but our circumstances change. Therefore, while it is prudent to have a will, having a will cannot be the only sole mechanism to ensure that the estates we leave behind is as best covered for all eventualities.

Straits Times: 13th May 2019
Joint Tenancy contracts for Muslims home owners recognised as religiously valid.

It is interesting as a case recently – a wife – after the passing of her elderly husband with cancer, is left having to seek legal advice as she is no longer able to live in her HDB home. Her late husband had bequeathed his portion to this family members & children, some from a previous marriage. Their property was bought many year ago & at that time, Tenancy -in common contracts were decreed under religious laws.

The wife is financially sound. She is younger would be able to secure other housing should the sale be enforced. However, she had resisted the immediate sale for personal reasons. One of the reasons cited was she was also undergoing Chemotherapy. She has early stages of cancer. Now the Religous council (Muis) has decreed that the Joint Tenancies contract are religiously valid. It could possibly have simplified cases like hers. She had been a big contributor to the running costs of their home life because of her better paying career.

What is Joint Tenancy?
Joint tenancy is one that when a spouse dies, property right goes automatically to the surviving person; co-owner. The Islamic Body advises couples to consider carefully both options. Typically, the Joint Tenancy is a better option as it safeguard’s ones immediate family in the vent of passing & avoids serious financial distress & uncertainty.

What is Tenancy -in- common contracts?
This contract allows for the share to be bequeathed to others, not just the co-owner. There are circumstances when this arrangement is appropriate under Islamic laws.

It is therefore extremely important for families to consult legal advice before purchasing property, to clear doubts, and to ensure that no negligence and injustice is inflicted on any of the surviving parties, where possible.

Posted by Admin
Answered On 05/14/2019 2:10 pm