As we move to a more litigious society and people are suing everyone for anything does it hurt to take some precautions? Of course everyone agrees the answer to this is NO, of course not. We will mitigate our risk however we can if it doesn't cost alot of money.
As investors to multifamily or commercial properties you could be opening yourself up to a whole host of issues depending on how you take title. Obviously as agents we are not lawyers and must not try to act as such, but wouldn't we be neglect in our duties if we didn't at least explain some examples to our clients?
There are many issues that can arise with respect to how you take title to property, and especially so in a commercial context. If you take title as an individual, you may be exposing yourself to potential liability exposure that you might want to try to avoid or at least minimize. You take title through a business corporation, but doing this could be disaster from a tax standpoint point. Sometimes, there may be other alternatives such as forming a limited liability company that you would own and control that, in turn, could lease the property to your business entity.
If joint ownership is involved, you should clearly understand the differences between taking title as joint tenants, as tenants in common, as a partnership, or as community property. You should also clearly understand your rights versus the rights of your co-owners. Each and all of these types of ownership have significant ownership implications and rights of survivorship.
It short, there are no universal rules of thumb with respect to how to take title. It's always advisable to seek professional advice, including your lawyer and CPA, to assist you in making a smart decision, but it is extremely important that you are aware of these implications and are informed.