Attorney Alicia Kellogg walks you through the steps to determine the best way to take title to your new property. Watch the video below, or read the text on this page.
Hello, I’m Alicia Kellogg with Access Title Agency. Today I wanted to talk about a couple of ways buyers can take title in a property. It is important to decide which type of title is the best for your situation, especially when thinking about the long term.
I am going to start with tenancy by the entirety.
In general, when a married couple purchases property in Michigan, it is presumed they purchased as “tenants by the entirety”, unless another type of estate is explicitly stated on the deed.
In Michigan, tenants by the entirety hold under a single title. When one spouse dies, the property automatically passes to the surviving spouse and that surviving spouse owns the property as a whole. This cannot be defeated by one spouse conveying the property to a third party.
The only way this can be defeated is by a partition action, for example a divorce. But that is a whole different conversation.
Now I am going to talk about Joint tenants with full rights of survivorship.
With this tenancy, upon a co-owners death, the decedent’s share of the property transfers to the surviving joint tenants, not his or her heirs.
Property held with “rights of survivorship” means that the last surviving tenant will own the property individually. A property is only held with rights of survivorship if the deed specifically states this.
Joint tenancy is generally favored when owners want the property to transfer automatically to the remaining co-owners upon death, and want to own the property in equal shares.
The use of the words “rights of survivorship” is necessary. If the deed merely states, “joint tenants” then it is not held with survivorship. And, if the deed is totally silent on the type of ownership, the property is presumed to be held as tenants in common.
What type of language and how it is worded is extremely important in a deed. So it is important to take time and think about how you want to take title in the property and to consult an attorney, if necessary.
So that is the basic information on just two of the ways buyers can take title in their property.
I want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving. Be safe, enjoy the turkey and stuffing and I will talk to you next month!