Some may be surprised to find that there are different types of property ownership and that all forms of real property ownership are not created equal. The form of title in property affects the sale, mortgage, and transfer of the property. The three main forms of ownership in real property are: (1) sole ownership; (2) tenancy in common; and (3) joint tenancy with rights of survivorship.
Sole ownership is simple in that the title to the property is vested solely in one person or entity. That one person holds all the legal rights and obligations attached to the property.
A tenancy in common is the default form of joint ownership, if no other form is specified. Under a tenancy in common, each party owns a respective share of the property. This could be an equal share, or the share could be allocated unequally. A tenancy in common allows each party to sell, gift, or devise at death their share of the property. At death, the share is part of the decedent’s estate and is subject to probate. The holder of a share has the right to occupy and use the whole property regardless of the size of the share.
The most common form of joint ownership is a joint tenancy with rights of survivorship. To create a joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, particular language must be used. A joint tenancy is similar to a tenancy in common in many respects, but differs in that upon a joint tenant’s death, the deceased tenant’s share automatically passes to the surviving tenant. Property held in a joint tenancy does not pass through probate, but automatically passes to the surviving joint tenant(s).
Whether you need assistance drafting a deed, understanding property ownership forms, or other real estate matters Kalil & LaCount is here to provide you seasoned guidance.