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Taking Title To Property In Rhode Island

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

Buying property? Your real estate agent, lender and title company are going to ask how you want to take title on the property you are buying. Understand the four different ways to take title in Rhode Island and be prepared before you go house hunting.

Sole Ownership. A property is owned solely by one individual who then has all rights and obligations of an owner. The owner can live in, will, rent, sell and otherwise use the property as deemed necessary within the law.

Tenancy in Common. Two or more owners hold title to a property together. Each owner holds a different percentage in the property that must be stated in the Deed of Trust. This is often used in business deals with an investment property that both owners may profit on. Also used for unmarried couples that want to own a home together but who may wish to separate their property percentage from their partner, perhaps to will their percentage to children of a previous marriage or any for other reason. Each co-owner has the same basic rights as that of a sole owner but only with their percentage of the property. In case of a difference of opinion on the use or sale of the property, a lawsuit may be filed to settle matter if the co-owners cannot settle the dispute on their own in a friendly manner.

Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship. A second way for two or more people to take title to a property. However, as the name implies, if a joint tenant dies, the remaining joint tenant(s) automatically acquires their interest. Interest is divided equally among all tenants. Rights and obligations generally are the same as for Tenants in Common, but property interest cannot be willed to any a party.

Tenancy by the Entirety. This means of holding title may only be used by married couples (or domestic partners where legal). Rights and obligations are the same as Sole Ownership. In case of divorce, the title becomes a Tenancy In Common. When one spouse dies, the surviving spouse becomes the sole property owner.

Aside from rights and obligations, there are certain creditor issues associated with each way of holding title. A prospective homeowner may want to seek advice from a tax advisor or legal counsel.

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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