By Nick and Barbara Lymberis

Once you are in contract with your buyers, just prior to preparing the deed in your buyers’ names in preparation for Close of Escrow (COE), the escrow officer will want to know how they wish to hold title.

It is important that, before letting the escrow officer know, your buyers contact a lawyer or other legal source to determine how best to hold title given their particular circumstances. The decision could have major ramifications, so it is usually a tax advisor that can best help, together with a legal opinion.

These are the following ways to hold title (Note: the legal ramifications of each way will not be addressed):

  1. Tenancy in Common
  2. Joint Tenancy
  3. Community Property
  4. Community Property with Right of Survivorship

As soon as your buyers are in contract, and substantially before COE occurs, we recommend your buyers contact a knowledgeable person to review financial status and personal wishes regarding holding title.

A common question is: “But Mr./Ms. REALTOR®, can’t we pick one and decide later how best to do it?”

Answer: Yes, of course. But we know from experience that making an appointment with the proper person is usually postponed and many times forgotten. With Nick’s background as an attorney and Barbara being a paralegal, we know that when decisions are postponed, life intervenes and it can trigger unintended results. At some later date, what the intentions were are irrelevant, or at least substantially altered by life, in almost all cases. (It’s complicated.)

So, we reiterate that it is best to handle it “on the spot” while everything is fresh in the buyers’ minds and their motivation is current with the purchase of their new home.

If circumstances change after COE,  when the choice has been made and the deed recorded, then a review can take place with an advisor and, if necessary, changes can be made. In fact, Trusts and Wills attorneys suggest reviewing your trust and will at least every 5 years. And with the laws changing from time to time and courts making interpretations of what the law is supposed to say, what was intended 5 years ago may not apply in today’s world.

 


Barabara and Nick are REALTORS® for Coldwell Banker. Visit their website at www.nickandbarbara.com

Copyright © 2017 by Nick and Barbara Lymberis

Note: This article is not intended or offered as legal advice. It has been prepared for educational and informational purposes only.