Costa Rica Howler INTERNATIONAL Magazine - August 2021

Page 82


by Rick Philps

Joint Tenancy Property Title Registratio Is it Available in Costa Rica?


n English common law jurisdictions, such as Canada and the United States, registering a property title in joint tenancy — as between a husband and a wife — is the norm. Joint tenancy embodies the principle of right of survivorship. This principle allows surviving spouses to efficiently and effectively transfer the property title into their name as the sole property title holder, following the death of the other, without reference to the provisions of a will and receiving an order of probate.


Usually, such a transfer is effected by the surviving spouse presenting the deceased spouse’s death certificate at the land registry office in the jurisdiction where the property is located. The transfer of the deceased spouse’s interest will be transferred to the surviving spouse within a short period of time.

Costa Rica Civil Law Costa Rica is a civil law jurisdiction, which does not recognize the legal concept of joint tenancy. When a husband and wife register a property title jointly in Costa Rica, each spouse has a distinct registered interest in the property title as a whole, as tenants in common — known as a “derecho interest”. This legal concept of tenants in common does not embody the principle of right of survivorship, with each spouse’s registered property title interest being a separate and distinct interest from the other. For a surviving spouse to inherit the deceased spouse’s property interest, the latter’s property title interest must be transferred to the surviving spouse by a public deed prepared and registered by a Costa Rica

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