Q: What are the most common ways to take title and which one is right for me?
A: Tenants in Common, Joint Tenants with full rights of Survivorship and Tenants by the Entireties
Tenants in Common
In Florida, this is the default tenancy for those taking title together who are not married to each other and who have not specified another form of co-tenancy. A form of ownership whereby each tenant holds an undivided interest in property, equal or unequal, derived from the same or different instruments at same or different times. This provides each partner the right to sell, lease or pass on the property to his legal heirs. In ‘Tenancy in Common’, any number of individuals can hold title to their respective share of the property, depending on their contributions.
Joint Tenants with full rights of Survivorship
A form of ownership where each tenant holds an equal, undivided interest in the title to real property. Upon the death of one joint tenant, his or her interest is equally divided between the remaining joint tenants, until full title vests, as a tenancy in severalty, in the last survivor. This is different from ‘Tenancy in Common’ because when a partner dies, his share is automatically distributed among the remaining partners. Any number of individuals can contribute under a ‘Joint Tenancy’.
Tenants by the Entireties
In Florida, this is the default tenancy for married couples who do not otherwise expressly specify another type of co-tenancy. A form of legal fiction which recognizes husband and wife as a single marital unit (one person). Upon death, title automatically passes, outside of probate, to the surviving spouse.
Florida Study Manual for Title Insurance, 5th Edition by Karen E. Koogler