How to Hold Title: Title to real property may be held by a single individual or entity, known as Sole Ownership, or by two or more individuals and/or entities known as Co-Ownership. Examples of common ways to hold title are listed below. (Ownership and tenure of title varies from state to state – check with a local tax attorney and or tax advisor that know your particular situation).
When one individual or entity is the sole owner of the property.
- A Single individual: A single individual who has not been married or registered as a Domestic Partner.
- An Unmarried Man or Unmarried Woman: A man or a woman who was previously married and is now legally divorced.
- A Married Man or Married Woman, or Registered Domestic Partner as his/her Sole and Separate Property: A married man or woman who is either married or a Registered Domestic Partner who will hold title without a spouse or Registered Domestic Partner (The title company insuring title may specifically require the excluded spouse to relinquish his or her right, title and interest to the property by recording a quit claim deed or other recorded instrument).
- Co-Ownership: When two or more individuals or entities are the owners of the property.
- Community Property: A form of Co-Ownership by a legally married husband and wife.
- Community Property with Rights of Survivorship: A form of Co-Ownership by a legally married husband and wife which includes the benefits of community property and that of joint tenancy.
- Joint Tenancy: A form of Co-Ownership by two or more individuals (none of which can be a corporation, partnership, Limited Liability Company or trustees of a trust) in equal shares, by a title created by a single transfer, when expressly declared in the transfer to be a joint tenancy. The joint tenants must derive their title at the same time from a single transfer, share identical interests and have equal rights of possession. On the death of one Co- Tenant the survivor or survivors take no new title but hold the entire estate under the original transfer.
- Tenancy in Common: A form of Co-Ownership with two or more individuals or entities. The interest of each individual or entity may or may not be stated and may not be equal. A Tenant in Common has the right to deal with its interest as it sees fit – sell, hypothecate, lease, gift, etc.
- Other Forms of Ownership: Entities created under state law. Such entities are:
- Corporation: An artificial entity created under the authority of the laws of a state usually regarded separate from its shareholders.
- Partnership: An artificial entity created under the authority of the laws of a state as an association of two or more individuals or entities to carry on, as co-owners, a business for profit.
- Limited Liability Companies: An artificial entity created under the authority of the laws of a state as an association of two or more individuals or entities to carry on, as co-owners, a business for profit.
- Trust: A confidence in one person to hold and administer for the benefit of another. The legal title to property is held by the trustee who may be an individual, an entity or both who manages the property for the benefit of others called the beneficiaries..