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.

Direct ownerships are the most common form of land ownership. They are easy to set up and maintain, and all forms of direct ownership can be combined with land conservation tools. However, they do not provide protection for liability or a mechanism for the gradual transfer of land. Following are some examples of direct ownership, along with short descriptions of how land owned in these forms is passed on:

  • One individual owner. Ownership of the land is by a single person, whose name is listed on the deed. Upon the death of the owner, the land is transferred according to the terms of his or her will.
  • Joint tenant with right of survivorship. Ownership of the land is by two or more persons, and the deed states that they own jointly or jointly with right of survivorship. Upon the death of an owner, the land automatically passes to the surviving owner or owners. This automatic transfer overrides will.
  • Tenants by the entirety. Ownership of the land is by spouses (and spouses only), and the deed states that they own as tenants by the entirety. Upon the death of a spouse, the land automatically passes to the surviving spouse. This automatic transfer overrides will.
  • Tenants in common. Ownership of the land is by two or more persons, which may be in specific shares. If a deed does not state that the persons listed own jointly or as tenants by the entirety, then they own as tenants in common. If one person dies, his or her share passes according to the terms of his or her will, creating exponentially larger and more complicated ownerships as each owner's share gets passed on to multiple heirs. As a result, making decisions about the land can become extremely difficult. 

The various types of land ownership can be divided into two types: direct and indirect.

Center for Private Forests

Address

416 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802

Center for Private Forests

Address

416 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802