New York law allows two or more people to own property jointly as tenants in common, as tenants by the entirety or as joint tenants. The right of survivorship exists for property held as tenants by the entirety and joint tenants. In New York, the only form of joint ownership that does not include the right of survivorship is tenants in common.
In the state of New York, the disposition of property to two or more people creates a joint ownership interest. Whether the right of survivorship exists depends on the type of interest. In general, the disposition of property to two or more people is presumed to be as tenants in common -- an interest in property between two or more people that does not create equal shares or include the right of survivorship -- unless the disposition expressly declares that it is a joint tenancy. A tenancy by the entirety, which only applies to a husband and wife, and each spouse has the right of survivorship -- is presumed when a disposition grants a property interest to a husband and wife, unless the disposition expressly states that it is a tenancy in common or a joint tenancy.
In New York state, joint tenancy is a form of property ownership that involves two or more people, whereby each owns an equal interest in the property and shares the property. Under the law, joint tenancy is presumed when a disposition grants a property interest to people who are not legally married to each other but are described as husband and wife, unless the disposition expressly states that it is a tenancy in common. A disposition to two or more people as trustees, executors or guardians creates a joint tenancy.
Along with the equal interest in the property, joint tenants have the right of survivorship. If one tenant dies, the survivors, not the beneficiaries of the deceased tenant's estate, inherit the tenant's interest in the property. The surviving joint tenants will take possession of the deceased tenant's share without it going through probate.
In the state of New York, one tenant has the right to sever joint tenancy without the consent of the other tenants. The severing tenant may execute and deliver a deed that severs the joint tenancy or conveys his interest to a third party. The severance of the joint tenancy, however, does not extinguish the right of survivorship of the nonsevering tenants, except in cases where the deed is recorded in the county where the property is located prior to the severing tenant's death.