Ways to Hold Title

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There are different types of real property ownership in California mainly divided into sole ownership and co-ownership. There are several variations as to how title is held in each type of ownership. Following are the seven most common examples of sole and co-ownerships:

1. Single woman or man who is not legally married.
2. An unmarried woman or man: A woman or man who has been married and is currently divorced.
3. A married woman or man as her/his sole and separate property: when a married woman or man interested in gaining ownership of property, in her/his name alone, she/he must receive her/his spouse’s consent by Quit Claim Deed or otherwise to transfer, thereby relinquishing all rights, title and interest in the property.

4. Joint Tenancy: Is one owned by two or more persons in equal shares, by a title created by a single will or transfer, when expressly declared in the will or transfer to be a joint tenancy. A chief characteristic of joint tenancy property is the right of survivorship. When a joint tenant passes away, title to the property immediately vests in the survivor or surviving joint tenants. As a consequence, joint tenancy property isn't subject to disposition by will.
5. Tenancy in Common: Under tenancy in common, co-owners own undivided interests. Unlike joint tenancy, in this type of co-ownership, the interests need not be equal in quantity or duration. There is no right of survivorship; each tenant owns an interest that upon his/her death is vested to the legal heirs or devisees.
6. Community Property: Property acquired by husband and wife or either during marriage. Real property conveyed to a married man or woman is presumed to be community property, unless otherwise stated. Under community property, both spouses have the right, by will, to dispose of one half of the community property, but all of it will go to the surviving spouse without a will. If spouse exercises his or her right to dispose of one-half, that half is subject to administration in the estate.
7. Community Property with Right of Survivorship: Community property acquired by husband and wife, when expressly declared in the transfer document to be "community property with right of survivorship," shall pass to the surviving spouse without having to first pass through the administration of the estate.