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Direct Ownership

Direct ownerships are those in which a person or persons own the land directly. The names of the people who own the land are on the deed.

Ownership Type

Features

Pros

Cons

One Individual owner (as shown on deed)

Upon death of individual owner, property passes according to will.

● Simple, easy to set up in dee or will.

● Property goes through probate.

● No liability protection during owner’s life.

Joint Tenant with right to survivorship (two or more names on deed)

Upon death of one owner, property automatically transfers to surviving join owner(s).

● Simple, easy to set up in deed or will.

● No probate until death of last owner.

● Overrides will.

● Overrides will unless joint owner “breaks” joint tenancy during life.

● No liability protection during owner’s life.

Tenants by the entirety (only spouses’ names on deed)

Ownership by two spouses, with right of survivorship; so, like joint tenants, property automatically transfers to surviving spouse.

● Simple, easy to setup in deed or will.

● No probate until death of second spouse.

● Cannot be “broken” by one spouse except upon divorce.

● Overrides will.

● Only available to spouse.

● No liability protection during owner’s life.

Tenants in common (two or more names on deed)

Default form of ownership for multiple owners unless otherwise stated on deed.

● Simple, easy to setup in deed or will.

At death of one owner, that owner’s interest passes by will.

● Owners may own different fractional interests.

● Unless understood by owners, may surprise survivor that decedent’s interest passes by will.

● No liability protection during owner’s life.