One of the most important decisions you make during the loan process is the manner in which you will hold title to your home. There are several options as to how title to a home can be held with advantages to each option. It is important to know your options before sitting down and signing the final papers.
- Sole Ownership
For a single person buying a home, this is the most often used title-holding option. Even married couples can choose this Sole Ownership if one of the spouses signs a quit claim deed terminating marital rights to the property. The primary reason couples would choose this option would be for business purposes.
- Tenants In Common
A piece of property can be owned by two or more people. Owners do not have to be living in the property. For instance, three people can own a piece of property, with one person owning 50%, another owning 30% and the third owning 20%. This becomes especially important when the property sells or when one of the owners wants to sell. He or she can sell their portion without the approval of the other owners. Tenants in Common is used especially with second marriage partners who want to leave a portion of the property to children from previous marriages.
- Joint Tenancy With Right Of Survivorship
This option of title holding is most often used by married couples. Each has full title to the property and upon death of one spouse, the other spouse solely owns the entire property. This type of title holding does not require the addition of a Will to implement. A drawback of Joint Tenancy is that either owner of the property can transfer their share without permission from the other, possibly ending the Joint Tenancy and creating Tenants in Common.
- Community Property
To date, nine states allow couples to purchase property as Community Property. This means that each person owns 50% of the property and a Will must be in place stating who will get the 50% share upon death of either of the partners ~ it is not automatic, as it is in Joint tenancy with right of Survivorship.
- Living Trust
Utilizing a Living Trust is like having another “entity” own and control your assets, including your home. But that “entity” is yours, or others designated as trustees, who “own” the entity. While the creator of the Living Trust lives, the Trust is revocable (can be changed) during his or her life. Upon the death of the creator of the Living, it becomes irrevocable (cannot be changed), and probate costs and delays are avoided because the assets in the Trust automatically pass according to the dictates of the Trust. Privacy is a major attraction in setting up a Living Trust. A trust document does not become public upon the death of the trust-holders like a Will does.