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HOW SHOULD I TAKE TITLE TO MY PROPERTY?

In California there are 7 different ways in which one can hold title to real property. Below are examples for Individuals and for Co-Owners (property owned by two or more persons). There are several choices for each Individual and Co-Owners. Your best option may be obvious to you, but if not, we strongly suggest that you consult your Attorney and/or CPA for any advice on how you should hold or take Title, as there are significant tax and legal consequences to each.

INDIVIDUAL/SOLE OWNERSHIP
1. A man or woman who is not married and has never been married before.
Ex: John Smith, a Single Man

2. An Unmarried Man/Woman – A man or woman, who has been married, but legally divorced.
Ex: Mary Smith, an unmarried woman

3. A Married Man/Woman, as His/Her Sole and Separate Property – When a married man or woman wishes to a1uire title as their sole and separate property, the spouse must consent and relinquish all right, title and interest to the real property by executing a Deed and/or other written agreements.
Ex: John Smith, a Married Man, as His Sole and Separate Property

CO-OWNERSHIP (two or more persons)
4. Community Property – Property acquired by husband and wife, or either during marriage, other than by a gift, bequest, devise, descent or as the separate property of either is presumed Community Property.
Ex: John Smith and Mary Smith, Husband and Wife as Community Property

5. Joint Tenancy – Joint and equal interest in ownership by two or more individuals created under a single instrument with right of survivorship.
Ex: John Smith and Mary Smith, Husband and Wife as Joint Tenants

6. Tenancy in Common – Under tenancy in common, the co-owners own undivided interest; but unlike joint tenancy, these interests may not be equal in quantity. There is not right of survivorship; each tenant owns their interest and upon his or her death will vest in his or her heirs or devisee.
Ex: John Smith, a Single Man as to an undivided 75% interest and Fred Smith, a Single Man as to an undivided 25% interest, as Tenants in Common

7. Trust – Title to the Real Property in California may be held in a Living Trust. The Trust holds title pursuant to the terms of the Trust for the benefit of the Trustor/Beneficiaries of the Trust.
Ex: John Smith and Mary Smith, Trustees of the John and Mary Smith Trust dated January 1, 2000

Click here to see a COMPARISON CHART FOR CO-OWNERSHIP
This is provided for informational purposes only and we recommend that you seek professional advice from your Attorney/CPA to determine your best option to hold Title.