Where two or more people hold property for their own benefit there are two possibilities:
1. They own the property as joint tenants. If that is the case then on the death of an owner the property belongs to the survivor(s). Thus if A, B and C own a property as joint tenants if A dies the property belongs to B and C. It does not matter what is in A 's will or who A's estate goes to if there is no will.
2. They own the property as tenants-in-common. If that is the case then on the death of an owner his share goes to his estate. Thus if A, B and C own a property as tenant-in-commons if A dies the property belongs to A's estate, B and C. The important and possibly confusing thing here is that although the property is held for the benefit of A's estate, B and C, it is held in the names of B and C. A's personal representatives do not (in layman's terms) "go on the deeds" on A's death. This means that when property is held as tenants-in-common and one owner dies the question of whether and when personal representatives can grant tenancies does not arise.
Where the property is registered it is not possible to tell conclusively from looking at the register how the propety is held. This is because it is a principle of registered land that it does not concern itself with beneficial interests except to afford means of protecting them. There is therefore the possibility that beneficial interests exist which are not protected and that an entry purporting to protect benefical interest is no longer relevant. There is no such thing as an entry on the register which indicates whether or not property is held as joint tenants or tenants-in-common. What there is is a restriction in the following form:
No disposition by a sole proprietor of the registered estate (except a trust corporation) under which capital money arises is to be registered unless authorised by an order of the court.
This will be entered on the register (a) if on a disposition the deed shows that the property is held as tenants-in-common and (b) if an applicaton is made for the restriction to be entered on the register following the severance of a joint tenancy, that is when a joint tenancy is converted to a tenancy-in-common. The presence of the restriction on the register, whilst a strong indication that the property is held as tenants-in-common is not conclusive. This is because a tenancy-in-common may have been converted to a joint tenancy. The absence of a restriction is also not conclusive. Whilst it shows that when the property was registered it was held on a joint tenancy, it cannot be assumed that the joint tenancy has not been severed at some time after registration. None of this worries a purchaser of the property. All that concerns him is whether or not there is a restriction on the register. However, on the death of an owner who is entitled to what is very important and the position needs to be investigated. In practice in the absence of evidence to the contrary or someone popping up and saying it is different, there will be an assumption that the presence or absence of the restriction tells the story.