COMMONWEALTH SECURITIES COMMONWEALTH INSCRIBED STOCK HELD IN JOINT ACCOUNT: WHETHER ON DEATH OF ONE OWNER STATE LEGISLATION PRECLUDES REGISTRATION IN NAME OF SURVIVOR
COMMONWEALTH INSCRIBED STOCK ACT 1911, s. 13: CONVEYANCING ACT 1919 (N.S.W.). ss. 7, 26: COMMONWEALTH INSCRIBED STOCK REGULATIONS, regs 29. 30
The Secretary to the Treasury has forwarded me the following minute for advice:
Under the Statutory Rules of the Inscribed Stock Act in the case of death of one of the holders of Commonwealth Government Inscribed Stock in a joint account, the amount vests in the survivor or survivors. They are thus joint tenants. By section 13 of Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Act 1911-1918, stock is personal property.
Under the Conveyancing Act of 1919 No. 6 of New South Wales, section 26, sub-section (1) reads:
In the construction of any instrument coming into operation after the commencement of this Act a disposition of the beneficial interest in any property whether with or without the legal estate to or for two or more persons together beneficially shall be deemed to be made to or for them as tenants in common, and not as joint tenants.
In the interpretation of the latter Act ' "Property" includes real and personal property, and any estate or interest in any property real or personal, and any debt, and any thing in action, and any other right or interest'.
Will you please furnish us with a ruling as to whether the State Act referred to overrides the Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Act and the Regulations passed thereunder in so far as this State is concerned, and whether the owners in a joint account of Commonwealth Stock (for no note appears either in the Stock Ledger or on the Stock Certificate of the owners being joint tenants) rank as tenants in common? If by the State law joint owners of stock are regarded as tenants in common, stock owners in New South Wales would be under a disability compared with those registered in other States, and it would appear that their only remedy would be to execute a deed or by statutory declaration indicate that the stock in question is held by them as joint tenants. Either of such documents would be subject to New South Wales stamp duty.
Section 26 sub-section (1) of the Conveyancing Act 1919 (N.S.W.) applies to cases where an instrument coming into operation after the commencement of the Act contains a disposition of the beneficial interest in property to two or more persons. Except where the instrument expressly provides that those persons are to take as joint tenants or tenants by entireties (sub-section (2)) they are to be deemed tenants in common.
Regulations 29 and 30 of the Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Regulations deal with the case of the death of one of the owners of stock held in joint account and provide that upon proof of the death the stock is to be registered in the name or names of the survivor or survivors.
I am unable to see any conflict between the provisions of section 26 of the Conveyancing Act 1919, which lays down the rules of construction of certain instruments, and those of regulations 29 and 30 of the Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Regulations dealing with the regulation of inscribed stock which was registered ab initio in joint account.
[Vol. 17,p. 328]