Four Ways to Holding Title in California Real Estate
When More Than One Person Holds Title
Holding title in California real estate with more than one person has four main options: Joint Tenancy, Tenancy in Common, Community Property, and Community Property with Right of Survivorship. All have important issues that can make them just right for the situation or just wrong.
Joint tenancy exists when two or more persons are joint and equal owners of the same undivided interest in real property. Joint tenancy requires four things: 1) The owners must acquire their interests at the same time, 2) The owners must all be included on the same deed, 3) The owners are presumed to own the property in equal shares, and 4) Each owner is presumed to have an equal right to use the property. If any one of these things is missing, the joint tenancy could be invalidated if challenged.
Tenancy in Common
Tenancy in common is when two or more persons are owners of an undivided interest in property. Each owner may hold an unequal interest; that is, ownership can be divided 64/40 or any way the owners choose. Even so, each one has an equal right to use the property and is legally obligated to pay his or her share of the expenses, such as property taxes. Each owner may sell, convey, or encumber his or her interest without the consent of the co-owners.
Community property ownership is another form of ownership held by more than one person. But, in this case, the property can be held only by a husband and wife or by registered domestic partners. Community property is generally defined as all property acquired during a valid marriage or registered domestic partnership. California is a community property state. Therefore, all California property acquired by a husband and wife or by registered domestic partners during marriage is presumed to be community property.
Community Property with Right of Survivorship
Community property with right of survivorship means upon the death of one spouse or partner, the surviving spouse or partner receives title to the entire property without the need for a court order.
Read more at Housing Sacramento Magazine: http://housingsacramento.com/magazine/holding-title-california-real-estate