There are a variety of types of property ownership, each involving specific rules relating to ownership.
- Sole Ownership – The property is owned entirely by one person.
- Joint Tenancy – This type of property is owned by two or more people at the same time and each person owns an equal share. Often referred to as the four unities: Unity of time, title, interest and possession. When one tenant dies, that share is equally vested into the other tenant shares. This form of property ownership is not allowed in every state.
- Tenancy in the Entirety – This applies to some states which have a specific form of joint tenancy that relates to a husband and wife as the joint tenants. Each person owns half of the property, therefore neither can sell without the other’s consent.
- Tenants in Common – This form of tenancy refers to a property owned by two or more people at the same time. The interests in the property do not have to be equal between the tenants. When one of the tenants dies, that share is passed to whomever that person has named as heir(s).
- Community Property – Some states recognize community property. In these states, a special form of joint tenancy can be established. In this form, the husband and wife each own half of the property. Upon the death of one or the other, the decedent’s interest is passed on to whomever that person has named as heir. This is similar to tenants in common, but relates to husband and wife and, in some states and cases, common law partners.
All of these forms of property ownership relate to present and future interests. In other words, who owns it now and who will own it once that person dies. To learn more about property ownership and other real estate law issues, please contact Robbins & Associates today.