It is very common for individuals (particularly family members) and businesses to own property collectively.
The most common forms of co-ownership of property are as follows:
Each owner owns a specific percentage of the property. This percentage of ownership is separate from other owners’ interest. The ownership interest is not unified; rather, it is “divisible”. Any owner can sell her ownership interest and there is no right of survivorship. If the owner passes away, her ownership interest passes to her heirs and assigns. The remaining owners do not acquire the deceased owner’s interest.
All owners of the real property are indicated on the title and each owns an equal an undivided interest in the property. There is a “right of survivorship” among owners. The interests of all owners are unified, so that when one owner passes away the other owners acquire the deceased owner’s interest. If any owner seeks to sell or transfer her interest in the property, the joint tenancy is broken and the ownership becomes a tenancy in common.
This is a method of joint ownership in property by married spouses. Each spouse owns and equal and undivided interest in the real property. There is a right of survivorship, so either spouse will inherit complete ownership of the property when the other spouse passes. The land passes automatically without having to go through probate. Neither spouse may transfer the property without the other spouse’s consent. There is a presumption of tenancy by the entirety in most states, unless the deed or title indicates that only one spouse is the owner of the property.
This property designation further concerns the ownership of real property by legally married couples. It applies to real and personal property. As explained above, ownership of property as tenants by the entirety would control with regard to real property. Generally, property held by a married couple is either classified as “marital property” or “separate property”.
In states observing community property rules, all property acquired during the marriage is considered marital property, with the exception of property acquired before marriage, property inherited, or received as a gift. This rule is analogous to the concept of property owned as tenants by the entirety. This rule becomes important in the event of divorce between the parties. The court will be forced to determine who owns the property.
Belongs to one spouse or the other. It does not require the consent of both spouses to sell or transfer.
There are two systems in the United States for determining whether property is marital or separate. One system follows the “common law” rule and the other follows the “community property” rule.
Is owned equally by both spouses and each spouse’s consent must be present to legally sell the property
Common law states that marital or separate property is determined by whose name is on the title, who purchases the property, or who receives it as a gift.
Probate generally begins when the deceased’s representative files a petition along with the death certificate in the probate court. The process routinely ends when the court formally closes the estate.
Probate is time consuming and expensive. If a relative or potential heir decides to contest the will or the court’s asset distribution, the process can take even longer. In addition, the court, attorneys, assessors, and other professionals involved all charge fees for processing an estate. These fees typically come out of the estate itself.