Eight common ways to take title in California are listed below, compliments of First American Title Insurance Co.

Vesting of your property title may seem like a minor decision now, but it has a critical effect on your taxes, your inheritance, and your financial future. When purchasing or refinancing your property, you must decide how you will hold title before escrow closes. Consult your attorney and accountant to advise you.  Here is a good explanation of your options:


1. A Single Man / Woman – a person who has never been married.

2. An Unmarried Man / Woman – a previously-married person (now divorced or widowed).

3. A Married Man/Woman, as His/Her Sole and Separate Property – a married person who is acquiring title in his/her name only. Note: Due to community property laws in California, the spouse must consent by signing a “quitclaim” deed or “interspousal transfer”.


4. Community Property – title held equally by husband and wife. Has some tax benefits, such as “step up” in value basis upon death of one spouse. Can be with or without right of survivorship.

5. Joint Tenancy – title held equally by any number of persons, including husband and wife. Owners have right of survivorship (upon death of one owner, the other owner inherits it all).

6. Tenancy in Common – title is held by any number of persons, including husband and wife, but ownership does not have to be equal. Note: Each owner’s % of ownership must be stated.

7. Tenancy in Partnership – any number of partners.

8. Title Holding Trust – owners can be individuals, groups of persons, partnerships, corporations, or a living trust.


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