How Should I Take Title?


One Person’s Name:  Sole Owner

If a recorded deed only contains one name, that person is the legal owner and has full legal power to sell or will away the house or other real property, even if someone else has contributed to the purchase and holds a nonrecorded interest.

If you are wanting to buy with another person that has poor credit (i.e. won’t qualify for a mortgage or will result in a higher interest rate) you can add the person’s name to the title later—sometimes transfer taxes and fees may apply, so be prepared.  Solution to this would be to sign a separate contract that spells out the actual property interests of both parties.  You should speak to a real estate lawyer, I know a great one, just ask and I will get you the info!

Joint Tenancy

You share equal ownership of the property and each of you has the right to use the entire property.  If one person dies, the other automatically becomes the owner of the deceased person’s share, even if there is a will to the contrary.  The advantage is that at the death of the first joint tenant, the property passes to the surviving joint tenant without the expense and trouble of probate proceedings.  But this may not last forever, if one joint tenant sells their share, the joint tenancy ends and the new owner and the original owner becomes tenants in common.  In any case, be sure there is a written agreement.

Tenants In Common

This is the most common way for unmarried couples to take title.  The tenants in common have no automatic right to inherit the property when the other party dies.  When one tenant dies, his or her share of the jointly owned property is left to whomever is specified in the will or living trust.  If there is no will, the person’s intestate heirs will inherit his or her share—and that does not include a living together partner.

So there ya have it!  Not a real fun topic, thinking about what happens when either you or someone you own property with dies.  But, it is a very important to know what your options are so you can take title to real property the way it makes the most sense for your own situation.  Questions?  Call or e-mail me, I am here to help!!

Speak Your Mind