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How Should I Take Title? Let Me Count the Ways!

One of the most confusing questions you get when you are purchasing real estate is often, how do you want to hold title? This question is often confusing to those not in the business of real estate. What this question is really asking is how do you want to take ownership - are you going to be the only person on the deed? If there are two people on the deed, how do you want the property to pass should one of the owner's pass away? How we "take title" basically tells everyone - this is how I own the property and what I want to happen with it should something happen to me.

In Florida, the most common ways in which to hold title to residential real property are Sole Ownership, Tenants in Common, Joint Tenancy with right of survivorship and Tenancy by the Entireties. The following provides a brief introduction to each:

Sole Ownership

Sole Ownership is the simplest form of real estate ownership and is generally held by unmarried individuals or married individuals who wish to assume sole title in non-homestead real property for investment purposes.

Tenancy in Common

Tenancy in Common is used when two or more individuals, who are not married to each other, take title to real property.

Each tenant in common owns a specified interest in the property that may not necessarily be equal shares. However, the percentage of ownership of each tenant in common is usually specified in the deed.

There is no right of survivorship in this form of ownership, one of the main advantages of owning real property in this manner is that each tenant in common may pass his or her interest in the property via a will to whomever they choose.

Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship

Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship provides an alternative option to Tenancy in Common and is often used by close family members who prefer to keep the ownership interest in the property within the family.

Under such ownership, all co-owners must take title at the same time and share equal interest in the property.

Each joint tenant has a right of survivorship, when one passes away, that joint tenant’s rights pass to the other joint tenants.

Tenancy by the Entirety

Tenancy by the Entirety can only be created between individuals who are married to each other at the time the property is acquired.

In this case, each spouse holds an equal and identical interest as the other that cannot be severed so long as both spouses are alive and remain married.

Each spouse’s interest passes to the other upon death.

There are also creditor advantages when holding title this way.

Hopefully, this helps you decide how you want to take title.

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