Specific details regarding your ownership rights and the way you hold title over real estate can be found in your property deed. There are several ways a person can hold title. Whichever option you choose can have a significant impact on your ability to transfer ownership rights in the future. Here are some common ways to hold title to real estate.


Common Ways To Hold Title:


 TENANCY BY THE ENTIRETIES:  A tenancy which is created between a husband and wife and by which together they hold title to the whole with right of survivorship so that, upon the death of either, the other takes to the exclusion of the deceased’s heirs.  Neither party can convey or encumber the property without the consent of the other.

John Smith and Mary Smith, Husband and Wife
John Smith and Mary Smith, His Wife

TENANTS IN COMMON: Two or more persons in who title to a single piece of real estate is vested in such a manner that they have a common or equal right to possession and enjoyment of the property, but each holds a separate individual interest or estate in the property.  Each owner may sell or encumber his respective interest or dispose of it by will, and if he dies without leaving a will, his heirs inherit his undivided interest.

John Smith and Mary Smith
John Smith passes away – his estate will own ½ interest in the property
 and Mary Smith will own the other ½ interest.

Joint Tenants:  Two or more persons who hold title to real estate jointly, with equal rights to share in its enjoyment during their respective lives with the provision that upon the death of a joint tenant, his share in property passes to the surviving  tenants, and so on, until the full title invested in the last survivor.

John Smith and Mary Smith, as joint tenants with full rights of survivorship and not as tenants in common.

John passes away – Mary records John’s death certificate – Mary becomes

the sole owner of the property.


Life Estate:  An estate in real property for the life of a living person.  The estate then reverts back to the grantor or on to a third party (remainderman).

John Smith, for his lifetime coupled with an unrestricted power to convey the property during his lifetime.  Upon the death of John Smith, and if he has not conveyed the property, then the property is conveyed to the John Smith Revocable Living Trust, dated January 1, 2000, to be administered according to the terms of that trust.




Friday June 24, 2022