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Vesting Options On How To Hold Title

Mortgage and Lending with CMG Mortgage, San Diego, CA NMLS 259027

While basic understanding of the "book smarts" within the mortgage industry will help you understand specific terminology, loan programs, and features, there is so much more you will need to know in order to make an informed financial decision.

My approach to providing education strives to further your understanding beyond the "book smarts" of the mortgage industry, and learn the valuable "street smarts" that will help you achieve the best possible results, while avoiding the most common pitfalls that non-informed Borrowers and Real Estate Professionals have experienced.


Mortgage Street Smarts - Vesting Options On How To Hold Title

Among the many decisions individuals must make when purchasing their home is how to hold legal title. The following options refer to how a Homeowner may take title (to real property in California).

Sole Ownership:

  • A Single Man/Woman - refers to a man/woman who is not legally married
  • An Unmarried Man/Woman - refers to a man/woman who has previously been married, and is now legally divorced (or been previously registered in a domestic partnership that has since been legally dissolved)
  • A Married Man/Woman (or Registered Domestic Partner) as His/Her Sole & Separate Property - In this situation, if a married man/woman (or registered domestic partner) would like to acquire title in his/her name alone, the spouse/partner must consent to the transfer. By providing their consent, this individual relinquishes their rights/title/interest in the property


  • Joint Tenancy - can be owned by 2 or more people, each possessing equal shares of ownership with right of survivorship. Specifically, if title is held in this manor and an owner dies, the title of the property immediately vests in the name of the surviving joint tenant(s).
  • Tenancy in Common - the co-owners may own an undivided (non-equal) interest in the property (in terms of quantity or duration). There is no right of survivorship; each tenant owns an interest which, on his/her death, vests the ownership interest in the names of his/her heirs/devisees.
  • Community Property - both spouses have the right to dispose of one-half of the community property. If a spouse does not exercise his/her right to dispose of one-half to someone other than his/her spouse, then the one-half will go to the surviving spouse without administration. If a spouse exercises his/her right to dispose of one-half, that half is subject to administration in the estate.
  • Community Property with Right of Survivorship - community property of a husband & wife, when expressly declared in the transfer document to be community property with the right of survivorship, and which may be accepted in writing on the face of the document by a statement signed/initialed by the grantees, shall, upon the death of one of the spouses, pass to the survivor, without administration, subject to the same procedures as property held in joint tenancy. Registered Domestic Partners shall have the same rights and protections.
  • Trust - holds legal & equitable title to the real estate. The Trustee holds title for the Trustor/Beneficiary, who retains all of the management rights and responsibilities.

Please note that none of the above information should be construed as legal advice. Given the magnitude of money and emotion that may be involved with regard to how title can be held, it is highly advisable to consult an Estate Planning Attorney to determine the best option to pursue. Please feel free to contact me if you would like a referral to a qualified and experienced Estate Planning Attorney.


NMLS # 259027 



Don Wixom
RE/MAX Executives Nampa, ID - Nampa, ID
"Looking out for your next move..."tm

Jason, this is great information that buyers & home owners in general, should know. I've been meaning to post an article explaining the different ways to hold title... You beat me to it!

Great post!

Dec 13, 2010 03:35 PM
Margo Currie
Exit 1 Stop Realty - Saint Augustine Beach, FL

Great explanation. I just had two men purchase property together. They each have children. I advised them to get legal counsel to decide the best way to take title.

Dec 13, 2010 03:38 PM
John Pusa
Glendale, CA

Jason - Excellent information on vesting options how to hold title. Thanks for the blog.

Dec 13, 2010 04:22 PM


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