Title Consumer Series: Common Ways Of Holding Title
How Should I take ownership of the property I am buying?
This important question is one California real property purchasers ask their real estate, escrow and title professionals every day. Unfortunately, though these professionals may identify the many methods of owning property, they may not recommend a specific form of ownership, as doing so would constitute practicing law.
Because real property is among the most valuable of assets, the question of how parties take ownership of their property is of great importance. The form of ownership taken—the vesting of title—will determine who may sign various documents involving the property and future rights of the parties to the transaction. These rights involve such matters as: real property taxes, income taxes, inheritance and gift taxes, transferability of title and exposure to creditor’s claims. Also, how title is vested can have significant probate implications in the event of death.
TheCalifornia Land Title Association (CLTA) advises those purchasing real property to give careful consideration to the manner in which title will be held. Buyers may wish to consult legal counsel to determine the most advantageous form of ownership for their particular situation, especially in cases of multiple owners of a single property.
The CLTA has provided a website with definitions of common vestings as an informational overview only. Consumers should not rely on these as legal definitions. The Association urges real property purchasers to carefully consider their titling decision prior to closing, and to seek counsel should they be unfamiliar with the most suitable ownership choice for their particular situation.
Note:Under current law, California recognizes same sex relationships that are legally performed or entered into in California and in other states and other countries. This recognition includes same sex marriages and other types of legal unions that are similar to registered domestic partnership status.
Although CLTA will use the title “registered domestic partner” in examples, the term “domestic partnership” will be used to include both California registered domestic partnerships and all non-marital legal unions that are recognized in California (i.e. Civil Unions, etc.).1