Joint Tenants, persons to whom a single estate is granted jointly by the same deed or will, and without any exclusive restrictions or explanatory words. The grant can take effect in such a case only by considering that all the grantees have equal interests, and that each has the entire possession of the whole estate. For between the grantees there is a unity: 1, of title, the estate being derived from one and the same conveyance; 2, of time, for it was created and vested in them at the same period; 3, in respect to interest, for it is a single estate which was conveyed; 4, in respect to possession, for the estate is to be enjoyed in common during the same time. It was the distinguishing incident of joint tenancies that, upon the death of his co-grantees, the estate passed undiminished to the last survivor. This is the so-called jus accrescendi, or right of survivorship. It originated in the feudal law, the policy of which was averse to the division of tenures, and to the distribution of the feudal services among tenants who might be strangers to the lord. The rules of law in relation to joint tenancies were strictly upheld for a long time by the courts of common law, but were regarded with less favor in proportion as the law of tenancies was modified.
Joint tenancies, with all their incidents, have been but little recognized in the United States; and the incident of survivorship is very generally abolished, except in the case of conveyances to husband and wife, or to trustees as such, or by way of mortgage.