Methods of Holding Title

The following table answers various questions related to holding title within the escrow process. For more information, or clarification about any part of this table, please speak with one of our qualified escrow officers.

Tenancy in CommonJoint TenancyCommunity Property
Who can take title?Any number of persons (can be husband and wife).Any number of persons (can be husband and wife).Only husband and wife.
How is ownership divided?Ownership can be divided into any number of interests, equal or unequal.Ownership interests cannot be divided.Ownership interests are equal.
Who holds the title?Each co-owner has a separate legal title to his undivided interest.There is only one title to the whole property.Title in the "community" (similar to title being in a partnership).
Who has possession?Equal right of possession.Equal right of possession.Equal right of possession.
How do owners convey their interest?Each co-owner's interest may be conveyed separately by its owner.Conveyance by one co-owner without the others breaks the joint tenancy, and owners then become tenants in common.Both co-owner's must join in conveyance of real property. Separate interests cannot be conveyed.
Purchaser's StatusPurchaser becomes a tenant in common with the other co-owner's.Purchaser becomes a tenant in common with the other co-owner's.Purchaser can only acquire whole title of community; cannot acquire a part of it.
What happens in case of death?On co-owner's death, his interest passes by will to his devisees or heirs. No survivorship right.On co-owner's death, his interest ends and cannot be willed. Survivor owns the property by survivorship.On co-owner's death, his interest goes to survivor in severalty. It goes by will to descendant's devisee or by succession to survivor.
What is the successor's status?Devisees or heirs become tenants in common.Last survivor owns property in severalty.If passing by will, tenancy in common between devisee and survivor results.
What is a creditor's interest?Co-owner's interest may be sold on execution sale to satisfy his creditor. Creditor becomes a tenant in common.Co-owner's interest may be sold on execution sale to satisfy creditor. Joint tenancy is broken. Creditor becomes tenant in common.Co-owner's interest cannot be seized and sold separately. The whole property may be sold to satisfy debts of either husband or wife.
What is the presumption of law?Favored in doubtful cases except husband and wife (see community property).Must be expressly stated and properly formed. Not favored.Strong presumption that property acquired by husband and wife is community.