Property can be owned in any number of ways. Just ask your attorney and he’ll explain the fine details and nuances. This article will look at the four most common as they exist in today’s market place.
Sole Ownership – This is ownership by one person, i.e., individual ownership.
Tenancy by the Entirety – A co-ownership available only to a husband and wife. If a house is to be sold or even refinanced both parties must agree beforehand. Should one spouse die, the house/property goes to the surviving spouse automatically.
Note: Survivorship is important when it comes to ownership. However, tax/estate laws and state laws governing tenancy come into play. Your best bet is to always discuss both ownership and survivorship with a competent attorney before signing any loan documents.
Joint Tenancy – An equal undivided ownership of property by two or more people. During their lifetimes, any of the owners may sell their interests to whomever they choose. If one owner dies, the surviving owner(s) automatically get(s) the deceased owner’s share in the property. Most married couples elect Joint Tenancy With Right Of Survivorship (JTWROS).
Tenancy In Common – A type of co-ownership without right of survivorship. The property is owned jointly, but if one owner dies, the deceased owner’s share goes to his or her heirs rather than the surviving owner(s). Sometimes this causes hard feelings leading to law suits.
Regardless of the type of property, house, car, boat, recreational vehicle, motor cycles, seriously consider the type of ownership agreement into which you’ll hold title. Legally, the ramifications could be costly or at the least expensive.
If you have a handle on the 4 common methods, you are able to make an informed decision and hopefully reduce or eliminate any possible headaches. As with anything that might even legal hassles or troubles, always consult with a competent attorney.