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Common Forms of Ownership of Real Estate

There are three common forms of ownership of real estate by more than one person – tenants in common, joint tenants with full rights of survivorship and tenancy by the entireties. There are some other less common forms also. The type of ownership is created by the language used to convey the ownership. Ownership as “tenants in common” allows two or more people to own a single parcel of real estate. Each has an undivided interest in the whole parcel. Each is able to convey their interest in the parcel to a third person without the other owner(s) joining in the conveyance. Each person’s estate receives their interest at death. Probate of this interest is required. Ownership as “joint tenants with full rights of survivorship” allows two or more people to own a single parcel of real estate but any owner of the parcel is unable to convey their present ownership interest in the parcel without the other owner(s) joining in the conveyance. The surviving owner(s) automatically receive the interest of any owner who predeceases them. Probate of this interest is not required. In a “tenancy by the entireties”, a married couple holds joint title to a single parcel of real estate with right of survivorship. Both spouses must join in any conveyance of their ownership interest in the parcel. The surviving spouse automatically receives the interest the spouse who predeceases. Probate of this interest is not required. Interestingly, a creditor of one spouse may not levy against real estate owned in a tenancy by the entireties.

Categories: Real Estate Law

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