This section is from the book "The Law Of Real Property and Other Interests In Land", by Herbert Thorn Dike Tiffany. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise on the Modern Law of Real Property and Other Interests in Land .
At common law, a holding in coparcenary or parcenary arose when, on the death of the owner of an estate of inheritance, it descended to two or more female heirs, in default of a male heir, and likewise when, by local custom, land descended to two or more male heirs.89 Coparceners or parceners hold a position intermediate between joint tenants and tenants in common. Three of the unities referred to in connection with a joint tenancy, namely, those of title, interest, and possession, exist in the case of coparcenary. That of time is not necessary, however, since, on the death of one of the heirs, his heir takes his place as parcener, and in such case the interests of the parceners arise at different times.90 There is no right of survivorship among coparceners as there is among joint tenants.91 But although there is no right of survivorship, coparceners are for some purposes regarded as having but a single estate in the land. Thus they must sue or be sued jointly in respect
87. Post, Sec. 193.
88. 2 Blackst. Comm., 195; 2 Cruise, Dig. tit. 20, Sec.Sec. 20-36. See infra, Sec.Sec. 203, 204.
89. Litt. Sec.Sec. 241, 242; 2 Blackst. Comm. 187; 4 Kent, Comm. 366.
90. Co. Litt. 164a; 2 Blackst.
Comm. 188; 2 Cruise, Dig. tit. 19, Sec.Sec. 3-5. See Hoffar v. Dement, 5 Gill (Md.) 132.
91. Litt. Sec. 280; Co. Litt. 164a; 2 Blackst. Comm. 188; 4 Kent. Comm. 366; 2 Cruise, Dig. tit. 19. Sec.Sec. 5, 6.
[Sec. 193 of the land,92 and one may convey to the other by release.93
A tenancy of this character may be terminated by the transfer by one parcener of his share to a stranger, this destroying the unity of title as regards that share, and thereafter the grantee is a tenant in common as to the others. It may also be terminated by the acquisition by one coparcener of the shares of the others, or by partition.94
In this country, this class of tenancy is rather infrequent, land descending to two or more persons being usually regarded, either with or without a statutory provision to that effect, as a tenancy in common.95 It is, however, still recognized in some states, and there are occasional statutes providing that joint heirs shall take as coparceners.96
The question whether persons who take jointly by descent are tenants in common or coparceners can rarely, at the present day, be a matter of importance. One result of the recognition of such a holding may however be referred to. In case there is a joint devise to those persons who, in case the decedent had died intestate, would have taken by descent as coparceners, the devisees, taking as tenants in common, do not take the same interests as they would have taken by descent,97 and consequently in such case they take under the devise.98 This may, under some of the state statutes determining the course of descent, have important consequences in particular cases.
92. Co. Litt. 164a.
93. Co. Litt. 9b, 200b; 2 Preston, Abstracts, 69; Perkins, Conveyancing, Sec. 193. But a feoffment was always regarded as available for this purpose to the same extent as a release. See the authorities above cited and also those cited in Wythe's Virginia Reports, at p. 393, note.
94. 2 Blackst. Comm. 189, 191.
95. 4 Kent, Comm. 367; 1 Stim-son's Am. St. Law, Sec. 1375; Freeman, Cotenancy, Sec. 85.
96. 1 Stimson's Am. St. Law, Sec.Sec. 1375, 3130. See Ward v. Ward's Heirs, 40 W. Va. 611, 29 L. R. A. 449, 52 Am. St. Rep. 911, 21 S. E. 746; Thompson v. Barber, 12 N. H. 563; Gilpin v. Hollingsworth, 3 Md. 190; Arendell v. Arendell, 119 Va. 1, 89 S. E. 87.
97. See post Sec. 487.
98. See Gilpin v. Hollingsworth 3 Md. 190; Donelly v. Turner, 60 Md. 81.