Holding Title

Before you reach the closing day, you will want to make a decision as to how you will "hold title" to the property.  This decision has legal, tax & estate planning ramifications. Therefore, it may be prudent to consult an attorney or accountant.

Information below should not be relied upon as legal definitions

Buying Alone

  • Sole Ownership
    • A single individual who has not been legally married.
    • An unmarried individual who was married & is now legally divorced.
    • A married individual who wishes to acquire title in his or her name alone.  At the time of closing, the spouse of the buyer will sign the mortgage but not the note in the State of Florida.  

  • Living Trust
    A living trust is created while an individual is alive & gives the individual control of the distribution of his or her estate.  The individual transfers ownership of his or her property & assets into the trust.

Buying with Others

  • Tenancy in Common
    Enables each partner in the property to sell, lease or will to his/her heirs that share of the property belonging to him/her.
    • Who can take title?  Any number of individuals.
    • Ownership Division:  Any number of interests, equal or unequal.
    • Who holds title?  Separate legal title is held by each co-owner.
    • Possession:  Equal right of possession.

  • Joint Tenancy
    Property owned by multiple individuals where if one of the owners dies, the remaining owners acquire the share of the deceased owner automatically.
    • Who can take title?  Any number of individuals.
    • Ownership Division:  Interests cannot be divided.
    • Who holds title?  There is only one title to the whole property.
    • Possession:  Equal right of possession.

  • Community Property
    Property owned equally between a husband & wife.  Each must sign all agreements & documents of transfer.
    • Who can take title?  Only a husband & wife.
    • Ownership Division:  Interests are equal.
    • Who holds title?  Similar to a partnership title, title is in "community."
    • Possession:  Equal right of possession.

Additional Ways to Hold Title

  • Corporation
    A corporation is a legal entity, created under state law, consisting of one or more shareholders but regarded under law as having essentially the same as those of an individual.  The entity has continuous existence until it is dissolved according to legal procedures.  Land owned by a corp. cannot be attached for personal debts or judgments rendered against any shareholders.

  • A Partnership
    A partnership is an association of two or more persons who can carry on business for profit.  A partnership may hold title to real property in the name of the partnership with partners having any amount of interest in the property.

  • A Trust
    A trust is an arrangement whereby legal title to property is transferred by the grantor (or trustor) to a person called a trustee, to be held & managed by that person for the benefit of the people specified in the trust called beneficiaries.