Ownership Options

Know Your Options

It is very important to consider the implications and options for holding title to property before buying. It is important for you to know your options and to consult an attorney if need be to determine the best form of ownership for you. The form of property ownership has significant implications if one of the owners passes away.

Sole Ownership describes ownership by a single individual or married individual who acquires title in his/her name alone.

Tenancy in Common can describe any number of people, including a husband and wife. Each co-owner has a separate legal title to their interests and upon a co-owner's death there is no right of survivorship. The interest in the property passes by will to his/her designees or heirs.

Joint Tenancy can include any number of persons, but there is only one jointly-held title to the property. The last survivor owns property in severalty in the event of death(s). Additional ways of vesting title include a Corporation, a legal entity of one or more shareholders), a Partnership, an association of co-owners in a for profit business, and a Trust, an arrangement in which legal title is granted to a trustee to manage for the trust beneficiaries.

Community Property means equal interest ownership by only a husband and wife. Upon a co-owner's death, 1/2 goes to the survivor and 1/2 goes by will or succession to others.

 

    Tenancy in Common   Joint Tenancy   Community Property
Parties   Any number of persons
(can be husband and wife)
  Any number of persons (can be husband and wife)   Only husband and wife
Division   Ownership can be divided into any number of interests, equal or unequal   Ownership interests cannot be divided   Title is in the "community" (Similar to title being in a partnership)
Title   Each co-ower has a separate legal title to his undivided interests   There is only one title to the whole property   Equal right of possession
Possession   Equal right of possession   Equal right of posession   Both co-owners must join in conveyance of real property. Separate interests cannot be conveyed
Conveyance   Each co-owner's interests may be conveyed separately by its owner   Conveyance by one co-owner without the others breaks the joint tenancy   Purchaser can only acquire whole title of community; cannot acquire a part of it
Purchaser's Status   Purchaser becomes a tenant in common with the oter co-owners   Purchaser's becomes tenant in common with the other co-owners   On co-owner's death, 1/2 goes to survivor in severalty. Up to 1/2 goes by will or succession to others
Death   On co-owner's death, his interest passes by will to his devises or heirs. No survivorship right   On co-owner's death, his interest ends and cannot be willed. Survior owns the property by survivorship   On co-owner's death, 1/2 Goes to survivor in severalty. Up to 1/2 goes by will or succession to others
Successor's Status   Devises or heirs become tenants in common   Last survivor owns property in severalty   If passing by will, tenancy in common between devisee and survivor results
Creditor's Rights   Co-owner's interest may be sold on execution sale to satisfy his creditor. Creditor becomes a tenant in common   Co-owner's interest may be sold on execution sale to satisfy his credtior. Joint tenancy is broken, creditor becomes a tenant in common   Co-owner's interest cannot be seized and sold separately. The whole property may be sold on execution sale to satisfy creditor.
Presumption   Favored in doubtful cases except husband and wife (see Community Property)   Must be expressly stated and properly formed. Not favored   Strong presumption thatproperty acquired by husbandand wife is community