Eight Common Ways to Hold Title - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

Title Source is one of the largest providers of title insurance, property valuations and settlement services in the nation.

If you’re wondering what that phrase after your name on a deed or title is, then this is the right blog for you! When title companies determine how you will hold title they will look at your “vesting” deed, which is your most recent deed. Determining how to hold title depends on an individual’s current situation, and how that person wants to pass ownership in the event of death, divorce or sale of their real estate.

Want to hold title as a sole owner? Then check out the below three options that apply to you:

If you are a man or a woman who is not married, your title should read:

·         John Smith, a single man OR

·         Jane Johnson, a single woman

If you are a man or woman who has been married and is now legally divorced, your title should read:

·         John Smith, an unmarried man OR

·         Jane Johnson, an unmarried woman

If you are a married man or woman who wishes to acquire title as a sole and separate property than your spouse must consent and relinquish all right, title and interest in the property by deed or other written agreement, your title should read:

·         John Smith, a married man, as his sole and separate property OR

·         Jane Johnson, a married woman, as her sole and separate property

Looking to hold title jointly? Check out the options and examples below:

Community Property (not applicable in all 50 states)

This form of ownership is when a property is acquired by husband and wife during their marriage, other than by gift, bequest, devise and descent, or as the separate property of either.  It is presumed to be held as community property. Under community property, either spouse has the right to dispose of his or her one-half interest in the property or will it to another party.

EXAMPLE: John Smith and Jane Smith, husband and wife, as community property

Community Property with Right of Survivorship (not applicable in all 50 states)

This form of community property combines features from both joint tenancy and community property. In community property with right of survivorship, upon the death of one spouse, the survivor receives the deceased’s share (1/2) of the property. The property would automatically pass to the surviving spouse.

EXAMPLE: John Smith and Jane Smith, husband and wife, as community property with right of survivorship

Joint Tenancy

Joint and equal interests in land owned by two or more individuals created under a single instrument with the right of survivorship.

EXAMPLE: John Smith and Jane Smith, Husband and Wife, as Joint Tenants

Tenancy in Common

Under tenancy in common, the co-owners own undivided interest or equal rights to enjoy the property during their lives. This differs from Joint Tenancy, because tenants in common hold title individually for their share of the property and can dispose or will their individual ownership, but unlike joint tenancy there is no right of survivorship and no other tenant is entitled to receive the decedent’s share of the property. Instead, the property goes to the decedent’s heirs.

EXAMPLE: John Smith and Jane Johnson, as tenants in common


A living trust of real property holds legal and equitable title to the real estate. The trustee holds title for the trustor/beneficiary who retains all management rights and responsibilities.

EXAMPLE: John Smith, as Trustee of the John Smith Trust dated July 3, 2002

How you hold title to your real estate can affect the outcome of the sale of a property. It also can affect the taxes and fees associated with selling your home. For more information or assistance in determining the best way to hold title for your unique situation, contact your real estate attorney or tax advisor.

Have any questions? Let us know in the comments below!


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