Forms of Holding Title to Real Estate | Ryan C. Young | Richmond, Virginia Real Estate Attorney

Forms of Real Estate Ownership

Joint Tenancy

With this kind of estate, the co-owners have what is referred to as a ‘right of survivorship.’ This means that if one of the owners dies, the surviving owner(s) will receive the deceased owner’s interest in said property by operation of law, thus avoiding probate.

The deceased owner’s property will not be inherited by his heirs. Whichever owner survives the longest, owns the property in its entirety. Once the last owner passes, the property becomes part of his estate.

Tenancy in Common

This term refers to the default form of a concurrent estate. Each owner is considered a ‘tenant in common.’ All co-owners will have equal shares of the property; however, their interests can differ in size.

Tenancy in Common is usually used when the co-owners are not legally married or different contribution amounts were used to purchase the property.

If one of the tenants in common passes away, his portion can be inherited.

If no restrictions are placed, each of the owners, during his lifetime, has the right to deal with the property as he would any other.

Tenancy by the Entirety

This term is a concurrent kind of estate that was formerly only available to married couples. Ownership of the property is treated as if the couple were legally one person. In Hawaii, this kind of ownership can also be used by domestic partners. In Vermont, the Civil Union statute allows for parties of a civil union to use this kind of ownership as well.  Virginia recognizes tenancy by the entirety but only for married couples.

If one spouse passes away, the surviving spouse receives the entire interest in the property, avoiding probate.

Life Estate

This designates the ownership of property to an individual, for the duration of his life. Once this individual dies, a ‘reversion’ takes place returning the property to the original owner.

If you are in the process of purchasing property, or own property you would like to legally define in any way, do not hesitate to contact us. The purchase of property is one of the largest investments people make in their lifetimes. You need a real estate attorney to ensure that all the paperwork is in order. It is important that everyone involved understand the terms of the property ownership.

Real Estate | Attorney | Richmond, Virginia

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