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Guide to Common Forms of Ownership

Tenancy In Common Joint Tenancy Community Property Community Property Right Of Survivorship
Parties Any number of persons (can be husband and wife) Any number of persons (can be husband and wife) Only husband and wife Only husband and wife
Division Ownership can be dividedinto any number of interests, equal or unequal Ownership interests cannotbe divided Ownership interests are equal Ownership and managerial interests are equal
Title Each co-owner has a separate legal title to his undivided interests There is only one title to the whole property Title is in the “community”(Similar to title being in a partnership) Title is in the “community”, management is unified
Possession Equal right of possession Equal right of possession Equal right of possession Both co-owners have equal management and control
Conveyance Each co-owner’s interests may be conveyed separately by its owner Conveyance by one co-owner without the others breaks the joint tenancy Both co-owners must join in conveyance of real property. Separate interests cannot be conveyed Right of survivorship may be terminated pursuant to the same procedures by which a joint tenancy may be severed
Purchaser’s Status Purchaser becomes a tenantin common with the otherco-owners Purchaser becomes a tenantin common with the otherco-owners Purchaser can only acquire whole title of community; cannot acquire a part of it Purchaser can only acquirewhole title of community; cannot acquire a part of it
Death On co-owner’s death, his interest passes by will to his devisees or heirs. No survivorship right On co-owner’s death, his interest ends and cannot be willed. Survivor owns the property by survivorship On co-owner’s death, 1/2 goes to survivor in severalty.Up to 1/2 goes by will or succession to others (consult attorney with specific questions) Upon the death of a spouse, his/her interest passes to the surviving spouse, without administration, subject to the same procedures as property held in joint tenancy
Successor’s Status Devisees or heirs become tenants in common Last survivor owns property in severalty If passing by will, tenancy incommon between devisee and survivor results Surviving spouse owns property
Creditors Co-owner’s interest may be sold on execution sale to satisfy his creditor. Creditor becomes a tenant in common Co-owner’s interest maybe sold on execution sale to satisfy his creditor. Joint tenancy is broken, creditor becomes a tenant in common Co-owner’s interests cannot be seized and sold separately. The whole property may be sold to satisfy debts of either husband or wife, depending on the debt (consult attorney with specific questions) Property of community is liable for debts whichare made before or after marriage; whole property may be sold on execution sale to satisfy creditor
Presumption Favored in doubtful cases except husband and wife (see Community Property) Must be expressly stated and properly formed. Not favored Strong presumption that property acquired by husband and wife is community

This is provided for informational purposes only.
Specific questions for actual real property transactions should be directed to your attorney or C.P.A.