Severance of joint tenancy by course of dealing
By David M. Smith
A joint tenancy may be severed in one of three ways: (i) unilaterally acting on one’s own share in a manner that is registered on title; (ii) a mutual agreement between the co-owners to sever; or (iii) any course of dealing sufficient to suggest that the interests were mutually treated as constituting a tenancy in common.
The third of these rules is often referred to as the “the course of dealing rule.” This is an equitable concept: the course of dealing rule operates so as to prevent a party from asserting a right of survivorship where doing so would not do justice between the parties.
In Hansen Estate v Hansen 2012 ONCA 112, the Ontario Court of Appeal considered whether a course of dealing between spouses in the midst of a legal separation equitably severed the joint tenancy in place at the time of Mr. Hansen’s death. Read More in Toronto Estate Law Blog