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Ways To Hold Title To Real Property

Please consult with your attorney or tax advisor before making any specific title decisions.

  Tenancy in Common Joint Tenancy Community Property * Community Property with Right Of Survivorship
(Effective 7/01/2001)
PARTIES Any number of persons
(can be husband and wife).
Any number of persons
(can be husband and wife).
Only husband and wife. Only husband and wife.
DIVISION Ownership can be divided into any number of interests, equal of unequal. Owner interest must be equal. Ownership and managerial interests are equal. Ownership and managerial interests are equal.
TITLE Each co-owner has separate legal title to his or her undivided interest. There must be unity of title and time.
(created in one document)
Title in the "community."
Each interest is separate but management is unified.
Title in the "community."
Each interest is separate but management is unified. Title must expressly state community property with rights to survivorship.
POSSFSSION Equal right of possession. Equal right of possession. Both co-owners have equal management and control. Both co-owners have equal management and control.
CONVEYANCE Each co-owner's interest may be conveyed separately by its individual owner. Conveyance by one co-owner without the others will sever (terminate) that individual's joint tenancy. Real property requires written consent of other spouse, and separate interest cannot be conveyed except upon death. Real property requires written consent of other spouse, and separate interest cannot be conveyed except upon death.
PURCHASER'S STATUS Purchaser will become a tenant in common with the other property co-owners. Purchaser will become a tenant in common with the other property co-owners. Purchaser can acquire title from the community with written consent or joinder of both spouses. Purchaser can acquire title from the community with written consent or joinder of both spouses.
DEATH On co-owner's death, his or her interest passes by will to that person's devisees or heirs.
No survivorship right.
On co-owner's death, his or her interest ends and cannot be disposed of by will.
Survivor(s) own(s) the property.
An affidavit of death of joint tenant establishes death.
Upon death of one spouse, 50% belongs to surviving spouse. 50% goes by will to descendent's devisees or by succession to surviving spouse. Upon death of one spouse, his or her interest ends and cannot be disposed by will. Survivor owns the property 100%. An affidavit of death (community property with right of survivorship) establishes death of a spouse.
SUCCESSOR'S STATUS Devisees or heirs become tenants in common. Last survivor owns property 100%. If passing by will, tenancy in common between devisees and survivor results. Purchaser can only acquire whole title of community; cannot acquire a part of it.
CREDITOR'S RIGHTS Co-owner's interest may be sold on execution sale to satisfy his or her creditor.
The creditor becomes a tenant in common.
Co-owner's interest may be sold on execution sale to satisfy creditor.
Joint tenancy is broken; creditor becomes tenant in common.
Property of community is liable for contracts of either spouse which were made after marriage and prior to or after January 1, 1975.
Co-owner's interest cannot be sold separately; whole property may be sold on execution to satisfy creditor.
Property of community is liable for contracts of either spouse which were made after marriage and prior to or after January 1, 1975.
Co-owner's interest cannot be sold separately; whole property may be sold on execution to satisfy creditor.
PRESUMPTION Favored in doubtful cases except husband and wife. Must be expressly stated.
Not favored.
The legal presumption is that property which has been acquired during the course of the marriage is community property. After July 1, 2001, there is no presumption.
The code reads that deeds must state "community property with right to survivorship."