An Independent Escrow Company

Ways to Hold Title

How you take title – Advantages and Limitations:

Title to real property in California may be held by individuals, either in Sole Ownership or in Co-Ownership. Co-Ownership of real property occurs when title is held by two or more persons. There are several variations as to how title may be held in each type of ownership. The following brief summaries reference seven of the more common examples of Sole Ownership and Co-Ownership.

Sole Ownership

A man or woman who is not married.
Example: John Doe, a single man.

An Unmarried Man/Woman:
A man or woman, who having been married, is legally divorced.
Example: John Doe, an unmarried man.

A Married Man/Woman, as His/Her Sole and Separate Property:
When a married man or woman wishes to acquire title as their sole and separate property, the spouse must consent and relinquish all right, title and interest in the property by deed or other written agreement.
Example: John Doe, a married man, as his sole and separate property.


Community Property:
Property acquired by husband and wife, or either during marriage, other than by gift, bequest, devise, descent or as the separate property of either is presumed community property.
Example: John Doe and Mary Doe, husband and wife, as community property.
Example: John Doe and Mary Doe, husband and wife.
Example: John Doe, a married man.

Joint Tenancy:
Joint and equal interests in land owned by two or more individuals created under a single instrument with right of survivorship.
Example: John Doe and Mary Doe, husband and wife, as joint tenants.

Tenancy in Common:
Under tenancy in common, the co-owners own undivided interests; but unlike joint tenancy, these interests need not be equal in quantity and may arise at different times. There is no right of survivorship; each tenant owns an interest, which on his or her death vests in his or her heirs or devisee.
Example: John Doe, a single man, as to an undivided 3/4 ths interest, and George Smith, a single man as to an undivided 1/4th interest, as tenants in common.

Title to real property in California may be held in trust. The trustee of the trust holds title pursuant to the terms of the trust for the benefit of the trustor/beneficiary.

The preceding summaries are a few of the more common ways to take title to real property in California and are provided for informational purposes only.

There are significant tax and legal consequences on how you hold title. We strongly suggest contacting an attorney and/or CPA for specific advice on how you should actually vest your title.

Concurrent Co-Ownership Interests

The comparison below is provided for information only, it should not be used to determine how you hold title. We highly recommend that you seek professional counsel from an attorney and/or CPA to determine the legal and tax consequences of how title is vested.

What is an Escrow?

An escrow is a deposit of funds, a deed, or other instrument by one party for the delivery to another party upon completion of a particular condition or event agreed upon by all parties to a transaction. We are a “neutral, third party agent for all the principals in a real estate transaction” who is entrusted with the safekeeping of the documents and funds until the contractual obligations of the principals (the Buyer and Seller) have been fulfilled.

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