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Title for Home
Holding the title to your home means that whoever is the holder has ownership. When it comes to holding title, there are five primary methods, each with its own description. These methods include:
  • Community Property
  • Community Property with Right of Survivorship
  • Joint Tenancy
  • Sole Ownership
  • Tenancy in Common
Community Property

This type of title holding is what is known as a “vesting title”. In this case, the title is owned by a husband and wife while married and a home that the two of them plan to keep. With community property, the married owns the title to the property equally. The other option is separate property, which means the property was purchased prior to marriage, after legal separation, from a bequest or gift, or in the case where one spouse agrees to allow the other spouse be the titleholder.

If you happen to live in California, any real property that is passed on to a married woman or man is considered community property, unless there are specific stipulations stating otherwise. Since the property is of equal ownership, all of the applicable documents must be signed by both parties. In the category of community property, either one of the spouses can dispose of one-half of the property, which also includes transfers by will.

Community Property with Right of Survivorship

This is another form of vesting title where the property is owned by a husband and wife, also while married and with the intention of owning the property together. However, for this method, probate is avoided. For a transfer to occur, both parties would have to come to a mutual agreement. If one spouse passes on, any interest from his or her half of the property ownership would be passed to the surviving spouse automatically. Additionally, the surviving spouse might be entitled to some form of tax advantage.

Joint Tenancy

For joint tenancy, the property is owned by two or more individuals, whether married or not. The interest in the property is equal and subject to the right of survivorship. In this case, however, the title must have been acquired at the same time and by the same conveyance. It is also important that the documentation clearly declare the intention of a joint tenancy title.

Sole Ownership

With sole ownership, this is property owned by one individual. A few examples of what would fall in the sole ownership category include:
  • Single man or woman
  • Married man or woman but as his or her sole and separate property
  • Unmarried man or woman
For sole ownership, the title company will make sure the spouse of a married man or woman will disclaim or relinquish all rights to the title, and surrender all ownership of the property.

Tenancy in Common

Finally, property in this situation would be owned by two individuals with undivided fractional interest. This means each tenant owns a share of the property and is entitled to a comparable portion of any income from the property. Additionally, this would apply for equal share of expenses. The co-tenants can legally sell or lease, or will his or her portion of the property.

Vesting property title can be handled in other ways such as:
  • Corporation
  • Partnership
  • Trust
If you have any questions, an attorney or lender can help educate you further, guiding you to the right decision for your personal situation.

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