Taking Title… Joint tenants? Tenants in common? Living trust?


When you close on your home you will be asked how you want to go into title…in other words, how do you want your property ownership legally recorded? How you hold title has legal and tax implications and if you have questions you should consult with your attorney and/or tax advisor. I do not give legal advice.

Following are the most common ways of taking title in Minnesota.

Sole Ownership.

If you are buying by yourself as a single person you are buying as a sole owner…you take title solely in your name. Note that in Minnesota if you are married your spouse automatically has joint ownership in the property, even if only one name is on the title. This also means that if you buy as a single person and later marry your spouse will automatically have joint ownership in the property. If you want sole ownership and are married your spouse must sign a quitclaim deed transferring full ownership to the other spouse.

Joint Tenants.

Most married couples take title as joint tenants, but you don’t have to be married and there can be more than two owners. This form of ownership means all owners are treated as one legal entity and you all own the property in equal shares. If one party dies that interest in the property automatically transfers to the remaining owner(s) without going through probate. A Will cannot override joint tenancy.

Tenants in Common.

With this form of ownership two or more parties own the property in equal or unequal shares. For instance, if one person is contributing more to the transaction, two people could each own 25% of the property and a third party own 50%; ownership percentages are specified on the deed. Each owner can sell or Will his or her interest to whomever he or she wishes. If one of the owners dies, that person’s share passes through probate to his or her heirs. This form of ownership is popular with unrelated owners and with couples where each one wants to will his or her share to children from a previous relationship.

Living Trust.

As part of estate planning people sometimes choose to hold title as a revocable living trust. Consult with your attorney and be sure to notify your real estate agent and/or closer in advance if you plan to use this form of ownership.

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I love what I do! Highly insightful, analytical and creative, there is nothing I love more than helping you find the right solution for your real estate transition. My mission is to serve my clients with honesty and integrity, exceeding their expectations in service and support… and to help others by donating a portion of every transaction to Habitat for Humanity.

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